Can I Get Fired for a DUI in Florida?

Are you facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Florida? If this is the first time you’ve been arrested for DUI, you probably have some pressing questions. “Will I go to jail? Will I lose my driver license? Will my insurance premiums skyrocket?” and “Will I get fired if I’m convicted of DUI?”

For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on the last question and how a DUI can affect employment in Florida. We’re concentrating on this particular issue because everybody needs to earn a living and most DUI defendants are worried about how a DUI will affect their current job and future employment, and understandably so!

Florida is an At-Will Employment State

For starters, it’s important to understand that all states, except Montana, are “at-will” employment states. So, Florida is an at-will employment state. What does this mean and what does it have to do with DUI?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.”

Generally, this means an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, except for discrimination. An employer can’t fire an employee for discriminatory reasons, such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc., but DUI? Can businesses fire employees for DUI? You bet they can. There is nothing in the law that says an employer cannot legally fire an employee for a DUI arrest or conviction.

Is the DUI Bad for Business?

In reality, not every DUI arrest or conviction leads to employee termination. Much of it depends on the employer’s view of DUIs, the employee’s relationship with the employer, if the employee is sentenced to jail, and if the DUI is just bad for business.

For example, a high school principal has a very high chance of losing his job if he’s arrested or convicted of DUI because it is bad for the school’s image. On the other hand, if the top salesman at a marketing agency was convicted of DUI and his employer loved him, his job may be waiting for him when he’s released from jail. So, it’s very fact-specific.

The occupations that are most threatened by a DUI and often lead to a termination, include but are not limited to:

  • Teachers
  • Childcare workers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Aviation (pilots)
  • Law enforcement
  • Commercial truck drivers
  • Professional drivers (e.g. cabs and limos)
  • Real estate agents (who drive clients around)

If you were arrested for DUI in Florida under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, and you’re worried about losing your job, ask yourself these questions: “How does my employer feel about DUIs? If I go to jail, will my job be there when I get back? Does my profession frown upon DUIs?” Your answers may give you a better idea if your job is threatened by a DUI or not.

If you are facing DUI charges in Pensacola, the best thing to do is fight them and avoid a DUI in the first place, this way you’re in a better position to protect your current job and future employment opportunities. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact the Morris Firm, PLLC today!

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