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What Rights Do Civil Service Employees Have in Investigative Interviews?

 Posted on August 23, 2022 in Civil Service Employment and Job Defense

new york civile service employment defenseEmployees who work in the public sector in New York have certain rights and protections, and they may need to determine how to respond in situations where they could potentially face disciplinary action. When a civil service employee is suspected of engaging in misconduct or other behavior that may warrant discipline, their employer or other parties may perform an investigation to gather information about the person’s alleged actions. Investigative interviews are an important part of disciplinary proceedings, and employees will need to understand the right ways to approach these situations.

Interviews Vs. Interrogations

An employee who is asked to submit to questioning by an employer or investigator will first need to understand the nature of these questions. In some cases, investigators may be seeking information about reports of misconduct prior to taking steps to determine whether discipline is warranted. Interviews may involve the questioning of people who may have relevant information about a certain incident or course of behavior or conversations seeking to gain facts. Interrogations, on the other hand, involve a person who is suspected of misconduct or wrongdoing being questioned. In an interrogation, the person being asked questions is likely to be the target of potential disciplinary action.

Employee Rights in Interrogations

Civil service employees who are covered by Section §75 of New York’s Civil Service Law have certain rights in interrogations. If it appears that an employee may potentially face disciplinary action, the employee has the right to be represented by a union representative. The employee must be notified of their right to representation in advance of questioning, and if they request representation, they must be provided with a reasonable amount of time to obtain the necessary representation. In addition to a union representative, an employee may also be represented by an attorney.

An employee may also have certain rights that apply if they could potentially face criminal charges in addition to disciplinary action. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people against self-incrimination, and courts have found that this right applies in situations where employees are required to answer questions during interrogations under threat of termination or other forms of discipline. If an employee’s refusal to answer a question could be considered insubordination that may warrant disciplinary action, the principle of “use immunity” will apply, and the answers a person gives cannot be used against them in a criminal case. If police officers are present during an interrogation, an employee must be informed of their right to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney.

Contact Our New York City Civil Service Employee Investigation Attorney

Civil service employees who are involved in investigations or disciplinary proceedings will need to understand their rights and ensure they provide the correct answers to investigators. If you have been asked to participate in an investigative interview, The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC can provide you with representation and make sure your rights will be protected. For skilled and effective representation in these matters, contact our Bronx civil service employee discipline defense lawyer at 646-580-6675.


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