When the Police show up at your door

Unfortunately it has come to the point where we are asking ourselves "What is protocol when the police show up to arrest an employee?"

We have agreed amongst ourselves that it would be best to stay on the side of the local police department and accomodate wherever reasonable. That is, if the employee is at work, we will call the individual up to the front office and request it be handled as discreetly as possible.

However, does anyone know (and this might be by State) what an employer's obligation is to the police when you know there is a warrant for the arrest of your employee, and this employee shows up for work? Are we obligated to contact the police and tell them the employee is here?

Current situation: Police came in last Friday, and this Monday to arrest the employee as they can't seem to locate him outside of work. Both Friday and Monday the employee called in and we granted vacation time. (Our emergency vac requests are lax right now as we are really slow and are allowing employees to use vac immediately upon request, as opposed to 2 weeks notice). In any case, when the officers arrived Monday, they told me that they had a warrant for arrest. The employee did not show for work yesterday, however he called in to work today. He wants to know if he returns to work this afternoon if we will call the police. I'm inclined to say NO, however I don't know if we are obligated (question posed above) to do so. Any input here would be greatly appreciated!!


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  • This is probably a state or city law, so I admit to no direct knowledge in this matter. Having said that, I doubt if you are required to call the police on your employees. If so, I would imagine they would have told you so when they were there.

    Taking away the legal aspect, you next have to look at what you want to do. Do you want your employees to see you as a betrayor for calling? Or, will they see you as the guy who doesn't protect them from criminals if you DON'T call? This decision will have to be made based on your culture and business situation in the city (ie: will you get a bad reputation in your field or the community for your decision?)

    I once worked at an insurance company when the police show up to arrest an employee. The front desk told the police where to go, and then while they were on their way the front desk called the guy and let him know what was up. The employee escaped down the stairwell, though he didn't get away for long.

    We let the employee know that we did not appreciate the police coming to our place of business and that he needed to get the matter cleared up before he returned to work. He got out on bail and came back to work. I don't know how it all ended as he decided to leave for greener pastures soon thereafter.

    Good luck!


  • >This is probably a state or city law, so I admit to no direct knowledge in
    >this matter. Having said that, I doubt if you are required to call the police
    >on your employees. If so, I would imagine they would have told you so when
    >they were there.

    I agree with Nae on the above. If I were in this situation I would handle this in the same manner as a process server. Process servers, both private & sheriff's deputies, are not allowed to serve employees on company property. We will let them know if the employee is at work, but they must serve him or her off company property.

  • I have a deal with the cops... I'll let them know if the person is here, and they'll let me know they're coming. I've been in situations where the cops busted the only employee I had on duty at a particular location, and we were shut down for two hours before we could adjust. It's good to have the best relationship with the cops... they will probably be with you long after your troubled employee is someone else's trouble.
  • I also agree with the above posters. We've had instances of of warrants being served at our place of business for employees. There is no obligation to contact a police dept and let them know that your employee on on duty, but if you get a call or a visit, it might be in your best interest to respond honestly if you are asked by an officer.

    I will also agree that these situations are uncomfortable. You want your employees to trust you, but you probably also want to cooperate with local law enforcement. I have on occasion asked that a warrant be served elsewhere if at all possible and not in the workplace for the sake of customers, other coworkers, and "professional dignity" for the one to be captured.

    best wishes
  • Keep in mind... If you know the cops are there to arrest a specific employee and you tip that employee off, you've probably crossed the line into "aiding and abetting", which is a criminal offense.
  • Afraid I have to side along the lines of ole pantless Frank. Not sure if it would be aiding and abetting or not, but we want to stay on the good side of the local police. Maybe 'cause we are both with financial institutions. We want the local police to come in a hurry, if we should ever need them. Can't say we have every had the police come in with the intent of arresting anyone but we have had the police or sheriffs dept. come in to serve papers of sorts and we have always cooperated with them 100%. We have called the ee to come to the HR suite and the law enforcement officers conducted their business with them. The ee’s then went back to work and the officers went on their way.
  • Those were my thoughts too and I'm not sure I'd want to be charged with aiding and abetting by not reporting the employee to the authorities.
  • Not reporting does not equal aiding and abetting. Hiding or helping to escape is aiding and abetting.
  • I agree with the poster who said better to have a good relationship with the police who will be there long after your troubled employee is someone else's trouble. I will help our local law enforcement any way I can. Simply put, if an employee breaks the law, that's their fault and not mine and it's their responsibility to deal with it. I've had employees arrested and process servers come out and I will always err on the side with law enforcement. I hope this sends a message to other troubled people that if they have problems with the law and they come work here, I will not help them avoid their problem.
  • Did it work? We're anxious for the test results!
  • Nae,

    If the police came by or called to let me know they were trying to find a certain ee, i would let them know if the ee was there that day or not, or if the ee worked a different shift, what that shift is.

    If their plan was to arrest the ee, I would ask that they do that off-site, if possible. If that weren't possible, I would provide a place within the building that is as far away from most ees as possible in HR or in a little used conference room near the front door. I would contact the ee's supervisor and ask that the ee be sent to HR, then I would take the ee to the designated room.
    I would follow this procedure whether it was for an arrest or for a process server.

    I think there's a very fine line between not reporting and hiding.

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