Government employees, including public safety personnel, can be compelled to answer questions during an administrative investigation for a workplace rule violation. This has been allowed since the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 1967 and it has not been significantly changed since that time. Recent events, however, have indicated that we must ensure that our employees will be treated fairly and reasonably when the focus of the administrative investigation might also have some criminal potential. Today, more public safety employees are being charged criminally with on-duty incidents that would not have occurred in the past. Court decisions are severely divided throughout the country on the issue of government employee compelled statements and the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t seem interested in revisiting the issue at this time.
During our administrative investigations there are only two types of interviews: compelled or voluntary. It is essential that we conduct our interviews in a manner that allows us to reach reasonable adjudications of workplace rule violation allegations without hampering any potential criminal investigation for the same events. It is also reasonable that we ensure that our employees’ constitutional Fifth Amendment rights are safeguarded.
This webinar will address:
• The current conflict in court directions on Garrity and compelled statements for government employees, specifically public safety personnel
• Reasonable notification to employees before they are compelled to answer questions during an administrative investigation
• The issue of employee representation during the administrative investigation and interview
• How best to avoid hampering any criminal investigation for the same incident being investigated during the administrative investigation