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What To Do About Your Coworker's Criminal Activity

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By Tiffany Brewington - Editor
Record Information Services
August 2007

So you're casually reading the newspaper on a Sunday morning and decide to check out the police reports. You know this is always good for a little gossip and to see what's going on in your community. Amid the list of your former high school classmates (that's what I usually see anyway) you are shocked to find the name of one of your coworkers prominently announcing a DUI he got last Friday night. You both work at a local restaurant and he is a delivery driver. Your dilemma begins: "What do I do with this information?"

It's not surprising to come across public information such as this that the offender would of course, wish to be kept private. However, the beauty of public records is that they are public, as they should be, for cases in the above scenario. Citizens have the right to know about DUIs and other crimes in their community to see what's going on in their own neighborhood, to help keep themselves and their families safe, or to get a heads up at what could lead to a violent incident at their workplace.

Stumbling across information about a coworker such as a DUI may lead you to wonder if the incident should be shared with your mutual employer. Past crimes should have been uncovered during their initial screening process, but records incurred while on the job are often a tricky subject matter to address.

You may wonder if that person plans on sharing the information with the boss themselves. Whether or not the individual gets reprimanded or terminated depends on how the incident relates to the actual work they perform on the job. In the case of a delivery driver getting a DUI, there is a direct connection, which would give the employer the right to either terminate the individual from that position or transfer them to another line of work within the company. In all cases, the employer must perform the action that is within their legal limits, and/or be ready to validate their actions in court in case a wrongful termination suit is filed by the employee.

If you are wondering if you should report the incident at all, it is better for YOU to inform your employer than wonder if your coworker will fess up, even if it means breaking a friendship or looking like a brownnoser. Imagine if you uncovered a battery in your coworker's public records, and later there was a serious incident at your workplace. For reasons like this, it is much better to share your knowledge than to bear the burden of knowing information that could have serious consequences on others.


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