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Do I have a right to know why I'm being investigated?

Vista, CA |

I recieved a tax in the morning from my supervisor saying not to report to work today or tomorrow because I'm being investigatedand that once a conclusion is made I would be told more. Shouldn't they at leats tell me why I'm being investigated. I have done anything wrong and I just thin it's crazy that they can do this to me. Please let me know thank you

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Attorney answers 6


No, I doubt it. Your Constitutional Rights aim to protect you from government action, not from private conduct. Also, even if it were the police, they wouldn't tell you about the investigation until they are ready to put pressure on you. I'd go ahead and read your employee handbook or perhaps contact your human resources department to see if you can get some clarification.

Good Luck!!

Thomas A. Schaeffer, Esq. Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216, San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 This posting is provided for "informational purposes" only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principals discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different States.


Absent a union or employment contract, you do not have a right to know the substance of the charges against you. As prior counsel correctly states, this is not a governmental entity but rather a private employer.

Be patient and await the communication. I would then suggest that you retain a CELA/NELA attorney to assist you if possible.

Herbert Tan, Esq.

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No, generally speaking, an employee does not have the right to know why he or she is being investigated. If you have specific concerns, by all means consult with a private attorney rather than disclosing more information on this public forum.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


I agree it is unfair that you are not being told what the nature of the investigation is against you. However, as the other attorneys have pointed out, your employer has no duty to disclose this information. In theory, they could even terminate you without letting you know what their conclusions are, since employment in the state of California is "at will" and can be terminated at any time for any reason or no reason.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.


I have a slightly different view than my good colleagues who commented. I understand your concern. This is not a textbook way to conduct a workplace investigation.

Ask yourself whether you think this "secret" investigation may be a pretext for some other motivation for the employer to fire you.

Many employment lawyers serve as expert witnesses on the standards for workplace investigations and testify at trial on these issues. Your employer, by failing to even interview you --the "accused" -- is violating one of the golden rules of workplace investigations. This, in itself, does not amount to a violation of the employment laws; however, it does raise questions about the fairness of the investigation and the motives of the employer.

Consider sending a fax or email to the employer asking for the opportunity to understand why you have been suspended and tell your side of the story.

If you don't hear from the employer within a week or two, consider sending a letter saying you are ready, able, and willing to return to work as soon as the investigation is completed and your good name has been cleared.

Best regards,

David A. 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.


I also believe there may be more to your issues and suggest you contact an Employment attorney, many of which offer a free consultation. Typically, what you describe is what is called an "investigatory suspension". This is where you are told not to report while the employer conducts an investigation in to some concern it has with your actions or performance. As counsel above notes, you may discuss this freely in a confidential communication with counsel as there are many issues involving company policy on discipline as well as if this matter results in a termination and if as you say you have done nothing wrong and the employer's motivation is based on an unlawful objective.