Protecting New York’s City Civil Service Employees During Disciplinary Questioning
As a civil service employee, you may be summoned at any time and questioned about your own or a co-worker’s conduct. You might feel compelled to be cooperative and answer questions immediately, without representation. However, is that the best choice?
Consider the possible outcomes. Instead of ingratiating yourself with your employer, you could actually do the opposite. You could say something that turns you from a possible witness into a target of the investigation. You could implicate yourself in some type of wrong-doing. You could then find yourself facing not only civil service disciplinary action but also criminal charges.
If you are ever summoned to appear at an investigative interview, particularly when an investigative or prosecutorial agency is involved, think before you speak. You have the right to have your union rep and/or an attorney at your side during questioning. While your union rep may be helpful in some ways, only an attorney can give you legal advice and guard against any violation of your rights. Because of the serious risks of criminal charges and termination of your employment, you would be wise to have an attorney present from the very first moment you speak to investigators.
At Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., we have extensive experience in the civil service disciplinary process. We have delivered positive outcomes for many civil service employees who have become embroiled in disciplinary actions. Defense attorney Joey Jackson has over 25 years experience in the practice of criminal law in New York City, so if an investigation leads to criminal charges, we are fully prepared to handle that part of the case as well. You can rely on us for savvy legal advice and aggressive defense of your legal rights.
What Should Civil Service Employees Do If Questioned Or Investigated?
If you suspect that you are under investigation, contact your union representative and an attorney as soon as possible.
Noncriminal investigation: If you are approached by a supervisor and questioned regarding an allegation of on-the-job misconduct or incompetence, you are entitled to representation prior to answering questions. If you are questioned by a private investigator hired by your employer, you are also entitled to request representation. This applies even if they say you are being interviewed as a witness, not as the target of the investigation.
Criminal investigation: If you do not know the names, job titles, and employers of everyone in the room when you are being questioned, ask. If you are confronted by investigators from any law enforcement agency, the Department of Investigation, or the Inspector General, you should immediately ask for an attorney. This is not just an employment-related investigation, it is a criminal investigation.
In a criminal investigation, if you only request a union representative, one does not have to be provided to you and questioning does not have to stop. If you request an attorney, questioning must stop and a lawyer must be provided to you.
The importance of an attorney from the first question. At any time during an investigation, the focus can shift from disciplinary charges related to violation of employer policies to possible criminal charges. Questioning can also shift from on-the-job actions to off-the-clock conduct. If your mind is focused on workplace conduct, and questioning suddenly shifts to non-work-related topics, you may be caught off-guard. Those are just two reasons why it is so important to have an attorney at your side from the first question. If you are not careful, you could make self-incriminating statements that could later be used against you, not just in civil service discipline but also in a criminal prosecution
Contact Us For Unparalleled Legal Representation
If you need a lawyer to represent and defend you in a civil service investigation, contact Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., at 833-563-9522. We are fully versed in civil service law as well as criminal law, so you can be confident that you will receive sound counsel. Equally important, we will be a powerful advocate for you from start to finish of your case.