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Is it a conflict of interest?

Burlington, VT |
Filed under: Criminal defense

My former employer has accused me of theft. The criminal investigator who wants to talk to me does business with the company and my former employer usually gives him a deal. Would this be a conflict of interest? Should the investigator even be involved given the prior relationship?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Employees do have an obligation to cooperate with an employer in an investigation; indeed, employers often would be unable to conduct an effective investigation or elicit relevant information without employee cooperation.

The question is whether you have a legal basis to challenge the qualifications of the investigator. You can check with an employment lawyer in VT to see if there is a state law that sets qualifications for workplace investigations.

You can also ask for the interview to be tape-recorded and that you be given a copy of the recording. (The employer does not have to agree).

Investigations conducted by biased investigators may compromise an employer’s defense even more than no investigation at all. If you can prove that the investigator is biased, this conveys a loud and clear message: the investigation was orchestrated by the employer to justify a nasty, unlawful, or "BS" reason to get rid of you,

David Mallen

David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding your legal question, you should consult an attorney confidentially. Many experienced California labor and employment attorneys, including David A. Mallen offer no-risk legal consultations to employers and employees at no charge. David A. Mallen is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the California Labor Commissioner and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Failure to take legal action within the time periods prescribed by law could result in the loss of important legal rights and remedies.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

The criminal investigator is from the state police. He is investigating criminal allegations against me in order to persue charges

David Andrew Mallen

David Andrew Mallen

Posted

You need to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before giving a statement.

Lars A. Lundeen

Lars A. Lundeen

Posted

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Mallen's recommendations. This is a former employer trying to investigate this questioner for committing a criminal act. The questioner is under no obligation to speak with the police and should exercise their Fifth Amendment US constitutional right to remain silent. (Guaranteed in the Bill of Rights)

David Andrew Mallen

David Andrew Mallen

Posted

I agree with Mr. Lundgren. As I said above, if the investigation is criminal in nature: "You need to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before giving a statement." I should have qualified that by saying that the criminal defense attorney may advise the asker to make no statement at all.

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

I also agree with Mr. Lundeen.

Posted

I think this initially belongs in the civil law arena.

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1 comment

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

Asker reports the investigator is from the State Police, conducting an investigation as to whether Asker committed a criminal offense.

Posted

I would not worry about a potential conflict of interest, which there may be, and be more concerned about potentially speaking to any investigator.

You have absolutely no obligation to speak with the investigator and I suggest that you remain silent and exercise your right to counsel if necessary.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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