Employee Investigations

Employee Investigations

Employee Investigations

In general, your obligation as a Federal civilian employee to answer your employer’s work-related questions is dependent upon whether there is a substantial risk that you may be subject to criminal prosecution for actions connected with the subject of your employer’s inquiry. You cannot be discharged simply because you invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in refusing to respond. See Gardner v. Broderick, 392 U.S. 273 (1968); Uniformed Sanitation Men Ass’n v. Commissioner of Sanitation, 392 U.S. 280 (1968). Conversely, a later prosecution cannot constitutionally use statements (or their fruits) coerced from you by a threat of removal if you fail to answer the question. See Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967). However, the Federal Government is not wholly barred from insisting that you, as a Federal civilian employee, answer its questions. Specifically, the Federal Government can remove you for not replying if you are adequately informed that you are subject to discharge for not answering and assured of protection against use of your answers or their fruits in any criminal prosecution. See Kalkines v. United States, 473 F.2d 1391, 1394 (Ct. Cl. 1973).

How we can help:

  • Initial consultation and assistance in preparing for an administrative or criminal investigation;
  • Confirming your rights incidental to such an investigation;
  • Consultation and assistance in responding to investigative interrogatories;
  • Advice and preparation for your investigative interview(s); and
  • Representation at investigative interviews.