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How DWI conviction affects employment

If a person has a DWI conviction on his or her record, can it prevent him or her from getting a job? If a person gets a conviction in the future, can he or she lose the job he or she has now?

In both cases, it depends. As explains, factors such as the type of job can make a difference.

Effect of a past DWI on a current job search

There are some protections in place against hiring discrimination for some job candidates with prior convictions.  Federal law requires a compelling business reason to pass on an otherwise qualified candidate with a DWI conviction.

For example, if the job involves driving, it may be prohibitively expensive to insure the driver if the insurance company deems him or her to be a risk. If the driver has a drunk driving accident on the job, the employer who employed him or her knowing about the history of prior conviction could be liable for negligence.

Effects of a future DWI on current employment

The law provides some protection to drivers who have had a DWI in the past when seeking a job. However, an employer has more leeway when maintaining current employment positions and may be able to exercise his or her own discretion when deciding whether to fire an employee who gets a DWI conviction during his or her employment or to keep him or her on the payroll.

Another possibility is that the employer could keep the employee on the payroll but move him or her to a position in which operating a motor vehicle, watercraft or aircraft would not be part of the employment duties.


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