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If you’re facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Will you be convicted? How much are the fines? Will you go to jail or prison? What will happen to your auto insurance premiums?

Will you be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony? What will happen to your Virginia driver’s license? And, will you be fired if you’re convicted of DUI? Continue reading to learn whether it’s legal or not for companies to fire employees for DUI.

Virginia is an At-Will Employment State

Like most states, Virginia is an “at-will employment state,” which means employers in the can fire employees at any time and for any reason unless there is an employment contract that says otherwise. There are exceptions, however. Employers cannot fire employees based on discriminatory reasons, such as:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Political affiliation
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy or disability

If you notice, a criminal conviction, such as DUI is not on the list. That is because a criminal conviction does not count as “discrimination.” So, can an employer legally fire an employee because they are arrested for or convicted of DUI? Yes, absolutely, however, that does not mean you’ll automatically lose your job if you’re convicted of DUI.

Will your employer fire you if you’re convicted of DUI? It depends on several factors, such as your employer’s view on DUIs, your relationship with your employer, your line of work, and whether you’ll be incarcerated and if so, if your employer can hold onto your job until you’re released.

Certain occupations or industries frown heavily on DUIs. For example, if you work in education, healthcare, real estate, truck driving, nursing, law, politics, or if you drive a cab or Uber for a living, a DUI could be bad for business and you could lose your job. On the other hand, if you work in retail, construction, IT, or sales, a DUI may have zero impact on your job, assuming incarceration does not pose a threat.

In reality, much of it comes down to your employer, how they feel about you, and whether they’re willing to hold onto your job if you’re sentenced to jail or prison for the offense.

If you’re facing DUI charges, the best way to protect your current and future employment possibilities as much as possible is to contact Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law.