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Can a business fire you for a domestic violence accusation?

When an employee is accused of being involved in a domestic violence situation, he or she is already facing many issues in his or her life. The potential loss of a partner, the stress of how this charge affects the family and even the potential for losing a job can be devastating. Employers are in particularly difficult positions, because an employee has a right to privacy. However, the employer also has to decide if that employee is a danger to others in the workplace, since the employer is required to provide a safe work environment.

For someone accused of domestic violence charges, getting fired might seem like the right course of action for a company, but there's a possibility that you could be victimized by the company as well. For instance, if a female coworker was involved in a similar situation and isn't fired but you are, then you might be able to claim sexism or other discrimination that could hold your employer liable for unfair treatment.

In many cases, if you've only been charged and not convicted, it's fair for employers to be wary but maybe not fair to fire you unless you've done something to merit it on the job. In America, you're innocent until proven guilty, so you should never be treated as if you are when you may not be.

It's true that employees can also be victimized in the workplace, so businesses want to know as much as possible. Your attorney can help you understand how you should discuss your case with your workplace, if at all.

Source: Bloomberg, "Employee Accused of Domestic Violence? Be Fair but Cautious," Martin Berman-Gorvine, accessed Nov. 29, 2016

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