There’s a question that every drunk driver must ask themselves after they’re stopped and arrested for drunk driving: what happens next? What will happen to their families when they can’t drive or they have to go into debt to pay off fines and fees? Even more worrisome, what will happen to the offender’s job when they can’t work because they are in jail?
Although lengthy jail time isn’t an outcome for most people charged with a first drunk driving conviction, it can be for anyone convicted of repeat drunk driving charges. If you’re in the same situation and you’re wondering what will happen to your own job, you may already know the answer.
Yes, most drunk driving offenders who are required to go to jail for six months, nine months, or for years don’t have often have a job to go back to and they have to start all over again when they get out of jail. But there are exceptions to this rule, and one exception just occurred in New Brunswick.
Paul Lynch, an employee at Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was summoned to court for leaving the scene of a crash in which alcohol was a factor. During his court appearance his six previous impaired driving convictions came up, and after he was charged with being in care and control while impaired, he was taken into custody and given another court date. He spent several months in jail before he was finally released.
During his time in jail his employee attempted to get in touch with him for missing work. They sent several letters, but because he was in jail they weren’t received. One of the letters indicated that he was terminated for failing to show up at work.
When he found out her was terminated he hired a lawyer to sue for wrongful dismissal. His argument was that he couldn’t contact his employer to let them know couldn’t work because he was in jail and had no telephone privileges. The judge in the case ruled that the hospital failed to provide just cause for termination, and he won his job back.
This type of case is definitely the exception, not the rule. If you’re arrested for repeat drunk driving charges and you tell your employer that you’ll be in jail for the next six months, odds are they aren’t going to hold your job for you. The good news is that it’s easy to avoid a situation like this: all you have to do say no to drinking and driving and you’ll never have to worry about job security.