Frowning boss at desk looks skeptical during difficult discussion with employee about legal trouble

When people get arrested it creates all kinds of ripples in their life. Not only may they be facing charges that could disrupt their life and the lives of their loved ones for years, but even if the charges are not terribly serious there could still be fallout that causes damage to personal and professional relationships. One of those is the relationship between the arrested person and their employer. A lot of people wonder just what are their obligations when it comes to informing the company they work for that they were arrested and are now out on bail. Do they have to tell them at all? If they don’t tell them will the city or state notify their employer? Will the bondsman call their boss and tell them what happened? It’s all very confusing but below we’ll try and shed some light on this topic.

Do You Have to Tell Your Employer You’ve Been Arrested?

Often, the worrying starts while the person is still sitting in jail waiting for their loved one to arrange bail bonds for them. “What do I tell the boss?” “Will someone else tell the boss what happened?” “Will I get fired if I don’t tell the boss but he finds out I’m out from somebody else?” Let’s take a look at those and other related questions.

Chance are that unless you have some type of reporting requirement laid out in your employment contract you don’t have to inform your employer that you’ve been arrested. Of course, if you’re denied bail they’ll find out anyway. But if you work with a trustworthy bonding agent and are released quickly you don’t have to mention it. After all you are innocent until proven guilty, which is why you are able to obtain bail and go home.

That said, there are exceptions to every rule. A DUI arrest is a good example. If you were stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence and refused to take a breath test your license will be automatically suspended. If your job requires you to drive then you’ll obviously need to say something to your boss. What happens then will be up to your employer. You can appeal the suspension but the odds are against you prevailing. And even if you did it might be too late to save your job.

Will Someone Else Inform My Employer?

Because a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty it is not the job of the courts to inform an employer that someone has been arrested. However, if you hold some type of professional license that could be affected by your arrest or possible conviction it may be in your interest to inform your employer before the relevant licensing agency revokes your ability to practice your trade. Lastly, while officers of the court will not be picking up the phone to call your boss, someone who knows who you work for or does business with the company you work for may have witnessed the DUI stop or other incident. They may then take it upon themselves to call your employer. And that could create a very sticky situation at work if you don’t broach the subject yourself.

Although some people wonder whether the bail agent can be trusted to keep their secret your relationship with the bail bonding agent is completely confidential. When you enter into a bond agreement with an agent the existence of the agreement, as well as the exact details, are between you, the agent and the person who cosigned the bond for you (the “indemnitor”).

The Exception

That confidentiality remains in place for the duration of the relationship as long as you adhere to the terms of your release. Which brings up an important point. Some misguided folks think that because their bond agreement is confidential that they can violate that agreement and that violation will also be a confidential matter. Not so.

Should you decide to violate the terms of your release by not making your scheduled court appearance in Adams County, Broomfield County, Weld County or Denver the bail agreement is null and void and the bonding agent can do whatever is necessary (as long as it’s legal) to see to it that you are returned to custody either voluntarily or involuntarily.

For instance: you may be hard at work one day confident that you got away with avoiding your court date when suddenly the bail agent and/or a bounty hunter descend upon you and takes you into custody. Such an incident will most likely result in you losing your job regardless of what happens with your court case.

The Deciding Factor

Two signs on single signpost with word 'choice' point in opposite directions at a crossroads before a big decision

If you have been arrested on some minor offense and released on bail whether or not you inform your employer will be up to you. Regardless, they aren’t going to find out from the court or the bail bonding agent if you follow the requirements the legal system and the bail bonding process. In the event of a more serious matter that impacts your ability to do your job you will most likely have to disclose the situation to your employer and hope the two of you can work something out. But if you manage to keep your situation a private matter and then decide to skip out on your court date, it’s likely to backfire on you and produce all kinds of negative consequences.

However, if you were arrested on a more serious charge and are facing the possibility of a trial and real jail time, or you are being held for arraignment and are going to miss work, you’ll have to call the boss. And the sooner the better. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to inform your boss that you’ve been arrested. Below we’ll go over the right way.

Don’t Expect the Bondsman to Call Your Boss

If it looks like you’ll have no option but to inform your employer that you’ve been arrested there’s a right way and a wrong way to do so. Don’t just assume that someone else will do it for you. It’s not the job of the bail bonding agent to make the difficult calls for you. It's also not your parents' job, or your girlfriend's. You’re going to have to man-up (or woman-up as the case may be) and do it yourself. But what’s the best way to handle such a sensitive issue? It essentially boils down to three simple steps:

  • Make the call.
  • Be honest.
  • Stay calm and ask questions.

Now that we know the steps let’s go through them one at a time.

Make the Call

Employee in long-sleeved dark shirt dialing iphone to call and inform boss of recent arrest

If it seems as though your situation is going to impact your ability to do your job either in the short or long term (or both) you need to talk to your boss. Before you pick up the phone however, it’s crucial you do one thing: calm down. Take a few breaths. Think about what you’re going to say. But don’t spend your time concocting a tall tale.

Try to put yourself in your employer’s shoes. Remember, they’re not expecting a call like this. They’re going about their normal routine expecting they’re going to see you in the morning. Unless you’re all over the 6 o’clock news they’re going to be surprised and confused. So if you’re to get them on your side it’s important that you don’t add to the confusion by sounding bent out of shape and incoherent. Take those few breaths. Compose yourself. Then call them.

Be Honest

If you’ve been arrested on a fairly serious charge this is likely to be one of the most complicated situations you’ll ever face. There will be family repercussions, relationship repercussions, financial repercussions and professional repercussions that all need to be managed. The worst thing you can do is complicate the matter further by spinning a tall tale designed to make you look better. So be honest. It’s possible that at the time you call them you won’t know exactly how things are going to unfold. So just stick to the facts.

“Hi. This is (your name here). I’m calling because (insert situation here) and I’ve been arrested. I’m currently at Whatever Jail and I’m working to resolve the situation. I’m in contact with a bondsman but there’s a chance I’ll be held over for a hearing and may have to miss a couple of days work. I know this is unexpected but I appreciate your understanding.”

That type of opening statement sets the tone for the conversation and lets your boss know you’re on top of things and you’re thinking about how your job may be impacted. Now you can move on to the next phase of the conversation.

Stay Calm and Ask Questions

This is one of the most awkward and difficult phone calls a person can make. How you handle it will say a lot about your character. Unless you’ve been arrested for being a serial killer or some such thing it may actually turn out to be a net positive for you in the long run. How? Because you may actually impress your boss with the calm, methodical and straightforward way you deal with the situation. Remember, crisis management is an important aspect of leadership. And business professionals don’t get to be successful unless they’re able to calmly and coolly handle the most difficult situations. It may not vault you into the executive VP’s chair. But it’s possible you could emerge from the crisis looking pretty good.

Employer in white collared shirt and tie crossing arms during discussion of employee's recent arrest

So explain the situation honestly and clearly. And then ask some relevant questions. “Will I be able to keep my job?” “How do you want me to handle this with the other people at work?” Give your boss a chance to get involved in the process (if they want to). If you are a valued employee they may stand by you. But they may also have some definite ideas about how to handle it so as to minimize impact on the company, its image and its reputation. And if they’re upset, let them be upset. Remember, you’re putting them in a pretty tough situation. Let them say what they have to say.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve been arrested in Adams County, Broomfield County, Weld County or Denver, stay calm. Talk to your boss and lay things out in a straightforward manner. And make sure you contact Rapid Release Bail Bonds right away. We’ll do everything in our power to return you to your loved ones and your job as soon as is legally possible.