Employee terminated and prosecuted for theft
My employer terminated me for allegations of theft of the Company’s money. Immediately after the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing and terminating me from employment, he reported me to the Police for arrest and investigation over the same offence for which I was terminated. I was charged with the offence and the hearing is still ongoing. Can I raise the defence that I have been punished by the employer for the offence by terminating my employment contract so it is unfair to be prosecuted for the same offence again?
Section 21 of the Penal Code [Cap.16 R.E 2019] bars imposition of double punishment to a person for the same offence. However, in our view the termination of employment is a contractual sanction provided under the employment contract and the labour laws; it is not a penal sanction. Double punishment barred by section 21 of the Penal Code envisaged penal punishments and not contractual sanctions like termination of employment. For that reason we don’t think your intended defence can hold water because the termination of your employment by the employer was done in exercise of the employer’s power to terminate an employee for misconduct. The punishment is what the Court will impose in case you are found guilty of theft. These are two separate processes.