Can a Company Dismiss it’s Employee if He is Convicted by a Criminal Court

If an employee is convicted by a Court for any criminal offence, then the employer has every right to dismiss him from his service even without conducting any domestic enquiry. The judgement of the Court will be more than enough to take such harsh step against the employee. Once dismissed, the employer won’t be liable to reinstate such terminated employee even if the order by the Criminal Court is set aside by way of appeal to the higher forum.

Offence related to “moral turpitude” is to be judged efficiently. Moral turpitude means an act done against honesty, justice, good morals and modesty and brings out the wickedness of character of the person through a particular conduct. An act does not automatically fall under moral turpitude. The nature of offence as well as the circumstances under which the offence has been committed has to be considered.

An employee who has been convicted by the Criminal Court for offence not related to his employer and dismissed by the employer but when such conviction is set aside by a higher Court, then such dismissal of the employee becomes illegal.

However, when the offence committed by an employee is related to his office/ employer and such employee is convicted by the Criminal Court and also has been terminated by the employer after holding a domestic enquiry, the order of termination on the basis of the domestic enquiry remains valid even if his conviction in the criminal case is set aside by a higher Court.

Moreover, when an employee is terminated on the ground of conviction in criminal case, then there is no requirement of holding a domestic enquiry and question of application of the principle of natural justice as well as opportunity of being heard is not required at all, if the rules say so. In absence of such rules, before dismissing an employee, an opportunity of being heard must be given to him in case he wants to prove that the criminal proceeding has no link with his employment. Thus it is always preferable to consult a labour law advocate before terminating the service of an employee.

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