It can be unsettling for any federal employee to learn that there is an investigation against him/her by the Inspector General Office. Most cases against federal employees begin as complaints from other federal employees or supervisors alleging misconduct.
When a federal employee receives a notification of investigation against them or they suspect they may be under investigation for alleged misconduct, it is vital to contact a federal employment lawyer for representation and advice through the whole process.
The most common federal employee investigation include:
The disciplinary action process begins when a federal employee gets accused of wrongdoing and consequently placed under federal investigations. The agency issues an employee with a written notice proposing disciplinary action or adverse action.
The federal employee should also keep in mind that the notice should contain reasons for the proposed disciplinary action, the right to review the material relied upon and give the employee reasonable opportunity to respond to the allegation in written or oral ways.
The investigators can be agents from the office of the inspector general, a supervisor, someone from the human resource department, agency investigators, or a contracted investigator.
At this initial stage, we highly advise you to consult an experienced attorney to help you figure out the best course of action and your rights, and what to expect.
During the investigation and before the federal agency comes up with the proper disciplinary or adverse action, federal employees enjoy several rights and protections. The investigating agency should inform the employee about the rights they enjoy before being compelled to speak in interviews.
In case the employee is facing a criminal allegation, the investigating agency should furnish the accused with Miranda warnings. The Miranda warning informs the employees of their rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution. After receiving the warnings, anything said by the employee may be used against them in a court of law. For such a case, the best you can do is remain silent and request for your attorney.
If the accused person faces administrative misconduct, the investigating agents conducting the interview should provide Garrity or Kalkines Warnings. For Garrity warnings, the investigating agents request the employees to voluntarily provide information into his/her misconduct but can use the answers in an administrative proceeding.
For Kalkines warnings, the investigating agent’s issues in cases where the possibility of criminal prosecution is impossible. The employee is only required to answer questions regarding the performance of his or her official duties.
At all the processes, your attorney is supposed to work with you and the federal investigators so that you can figure out the best solutions to your career.
According to section 6 of the Inspector General Act, the IG has the authority to obtain the following document from the accused: reports, reviews, all records, audits, recommendations, and any other material relating to the investigations.
Additionally, the IG has the authority to issue subpoenas and to obtain other documents outside the federal government, such as financial records. Access to financial records originates under the Right to Financial Privacy Act.
Since the investigation aims at determining the truths and falsehood of the alleged misconduct, the procedures focus more on obtaining facts to address the allegations in full.
The investigation plan outlines the facts of the allegations and how to best to obtain relevant evidence that will approve or disapprove the alleged offense by an employee.
Investigations will examine documents such as vouchers, memoranda, and contracts. They can also obtain information by interviewing witnesses, subjects, and technical experts. Information obtained in such a manner may be recorded under interview, affidavits under oath, or depositions transcribed by a court reporter and given under oath.
After gathering the relevant information, the federal agents prepare a report, present it to the DOJ if there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing who later considers a case against the employee in Federal Court or other appropriate cour. If the employee has an administrative offense, the federal agents present the report to the appropriate FCC manager for disciplinary action.
Since federal investigations may incriminate a federal employee, it is vital to have an attorney to represent and guide you throughout the process. Additionally, federal agents may tend to use their own rules, disregarding the setup rules of an investigative interview, therefore having an attorney with you will keep them in check not to deviate from conventional methods.
At an early stage, an experienced lawyer from the Spodek law group may help save your career as well as keep you out of serving an undeserved jail term.
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