What rights do employees have during internal investigations?

With many white-collar criminal prosecutions, investigations begin internally. At the conclusion, a compliance officer or investigator may find cause to turn the findings over to law enforcement or the Government for possible prosecution.

Procedural rights

Unlike police officers, private sector investigators typically have no duty to inform you of your rights under the U.S. Constitution, as these rights protect you from the government and not from your employer. Still, you may have certain rights pursuant to your employer’s investigation policy or procedure. If you are a member of a union, you may also have additional rights under a bargaining agreement.

Due process rights

Government employees typically have some right to due process. If you work for a federal, state or local government or perhaps even a government contractor, your employer may have to follow specific protocols during the internal investigation. As a government employee, you may also have the right to legal counsel.

Attorney rights

Depending on the nature of the investigation, the person conducting it and your place of employment, you may have a right to legal representation. Even if you do not, however, you may consult with an attorney to explore your legal options, including remaining silent during the investigation.

Internal Investigation Attorney

If you expect your employer may question you in connection with a possible criminal offense, exercising all available rights may help you avoid incriminating yourself. Contact Hilder & Associates, P.C. for a consultation.