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Big Four associate in pot possession arrest
A new Big Four associate wants to find out if his career will go up in smoke after a pot possession arrest. Sift’s US accountancy tabloid site GoingConcern reports.
Our US colleagues at GoingConcern.com turned career counsellors in the recent high-stakes Accounting Career Emergency in which a new Big Four associate worried about how much trouble he could get in for a recent arrest for pot possession. If his firm finds out will they just blow it off or is his career baked?
Here are the case details, as presented:
I just started at a Big 4 firm and to celebrate the college life being over my friends had a party over Labor Day weekend. To cut to the point, I ended up being arrested and charged with marijuana possession in a city about 2 hours away from my office. I had a prior arrest for marijuana from 4 years prior as well. Basically, my question is, how likely is it that the firm finds out about this incident without me telling them? Also, if they do find out does this mean automatic termination?
Any advice would be appreciated.
And the reply from GoingConcern's own chilled-out career adviser:
Dear Stoney Jabroni,
Let me just say first that I’m not a lawyer, so take this advice for what it’s worth (not much more than a dime bag). Having said, that, your solution is easy. Move to Colorado. Or California. Or anywhere pot is decriminalised. Maybe I’m misinterpreting “arrested” but here in the MHC, for example, adults don’t really get “arrested” for possession of less than one ounce and thus, there is really no problem. I realize this is probably unrealistic advice but your state’s laws will ultimately determine how “serious” this really is. Generally, this is not a serious issue but if you’re in state that likes to throw the book at marijuana users, then it gets more complicated.
To answer your first question – since you work in a city that’s two hours from where your arrest occurred, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone at your firm will find out you had your little run-in with the law. Unless, of course, there’s a townie that would go out of their way to contact your firm to fink on you. That seems unlikely but, hey! you never know.
As far as termination is concerned, it depends on the agreement that you signed when you accepted your offer. If you’re held to specific code of conduct, it’s possible that this arrest could violate that code. If there’s nothing in the agreement that would cover something like this, your firm doesn’t really have grounds to dismiss you. There are plenty of Big Four employees and partners that enjoy a nice toke every now and again and it is more socially accepted than ever. If someone at your firm does get a whiff of this news, certainly some will frown on this behavior and you may get a talking to but does it mean the end of your career? That’s just wack, man.