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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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I have what I think is a procedural due process question. My

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I have what I think is a procedural due process question. My place of employment accused me of falsifying legal documents. I wanted to explain the situation but was told that my explaination could be used if the grand jury requested. In order to keep my job I had to give up my due process and write down my explaination or be fired. My attorney advised me of need to plead the fifth. I was forced to retire before I got fired for not giving a written explaination of my actions. I was no billed by a grand jury. I was not ready to retire and lost out in thousand of dollars from my pension sytem I could have earned if I was still employed.
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am sorry to learn of the circumstances you've described. So that I may better assist, please clarify: what is your actual question that you'd like assistance with? What information are you seeking from JustAnswer?

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I want to know if the companys' policies to answer questions that could incriminate me or be fired is legal.

As I understand it:

1. You retired and, thus, were not fired.

2. You exercised your constitutional Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions and, thus, your responses could not be used against you in any criminal matter.

Is my understanding of the underlying facts correct?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes but exercising my Fifth amendment right is what caused me to retire or I would have been fired. The company doesnot allow employee to plead the fifth or He/She would be fired.

Thank you. Did you have a written contract which said that the employer could only fire you for just cause?

Or, were you considered to be an at-will employee?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was a Houston Police Officer,a city employee, would I be a written contract or at will employee.

Thank you. What is your understanding of what it means to be an at-will employee?

Is it your claim that you did not have the right to resign?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do not know what an at will employee..My main question is can an employer have a policy that does not allow an employee the right to plead the fifth during a criminal allegation and if they do they will be terminated. I hope this is what you need.

Thank you. What you have described is legal for several reasons.

First, an employer has the legal right to require an employee to answer questions.

If an employee refuses to answer those questions or cooperate in an investigation, the employer has the right to fire the employee.

Second, when one asserts the Fifth Amendment, that only protects the person with respect to criminal prosecution. Asserting the Fifth Amendment does not afford any job protections. That's a very big distinction. Huge.

Lastly, an employee has the right to resign/retire.

Thus, collectively, if you did not resign or retire the employer could have still fired. It was perfectly legal for the employer to inform the employee that if there is not a resignation there will be a termination.

It may be distasteful but it's legal. Again, the Fifth Amendment only provides protections relative to criminal prosecution -- it's not a tool for job protection.

I know that this is not what you wanted to hear but you deserve a candid answer. I wish very much that I could offer you an answer that was more favorable to your circumstances, but the law seems to be pretty clear. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

I hope you understand.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
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