Dismissed criminal charge doesn’t require reinstatement

When an employee is charged with a criminal offense that reflects on his ability to perform his job, many employers suspend or even fire the employee.

If he’s acquitted, must he get his job back? Not necessarily.

Recent case: Iyare Egonmwan worked as a correctional officer in the women’s wing of Cook County Jail. He was fired when a female inmate claimed Egonmwan had sex with her and paid her brother for the encounters. He was found not guilty of the criminal charges against him.

He sued, alleging that the criminal charges were a pretext to fire him, covering up race discrimination.

The court didn’t buy his explanation. It concluded that the county was free to interpret the facts differently than the jury had. (Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff’s Department, No. 09-2764, 7th Cir., 2010)