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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19200
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I realize that Mississippi is an "at will" state but I am being

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I realize that Mississippi is an "at will" state but I am being disciplined for not performing an illegal act. Their position is that I could have suggested an alternative that would have put myself and the employer at a greater liability risk. There is no written or unwritten policy regarding such "alternative action" but they see fit to discipline me for not suggesting such. My employer is disciplining me by citing policy violations that don't even apply to this situation.

I can provide more details if required, I only didn't because I'm in law enforcement and wasn't sure if I should put details on a public forum.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today. I bring nearly 20 years of experience in various legal disciplines.

Ok. You've stated two different things here, and I just want to clarify.

Were you disciplined for not performing an illegal act or for making a determination that making a particular suggestion would just increase your employer's liability? Those could be two different things.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The situations was that I did not perform an arrest for a crime that I didn not observe. I am now being disciplined for "failure to serve the public". As a law enforcement officer, I can only arrest if I observe the crime, have a warrant, or there is evidence of domestic violence. They state that I should have recommended that the victim place the suspect under citizen's arrest. There is no policy stating that we should suggest citizen's arrest and in fact, the MS Attorney General's opinion states the preferred method is the victim pursue charges at the municipal or justice court.

I should add too that the crime was only witnessed by a 14 year old, not by the mother. My employer feels I should have recommended the mother place him under citizen's arrest even though she did not observed the crime.

Ok, the issue here will come down to whether or not what was recommended was actually a violation of the law or whether it is just a more risky interpretation of the law.

Now, this would be called a sort of "public policy" argument on your part, and that argument is typically made when a person has actually been fired, not just disciplined.

You can certainly attempt to make that argument against a current employer, but you are going to have a very difficult time finding an attorney willing to help you. Unlike a lost job, where the loss of income is easily translated into damages, this is more difficult to do here. Any attorney willing to help you would have to be paid upfront, hourly to take this sort of speculative claim on.

So, I think you have a decent, if not great argument, but you're going to have to find the right attorney willing to take it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There is no to address whether law enforcement suggests citizen's arrest. The law only states that citizen's may place someone under citizen's arrest for crimes committed in their presence or when a there is a threat of the disturbing the peace. The attorney general is of the opinion that the officer doesn't even have to custody of someone being placed under citizen's arrest. (leaving it up to officer discretion based on probable cause). I am being suspended for at least 1 week without pay as a result of this discipline.

I understand your point, but all the things that you are pointing at are AG opinions. Those are not law. They are one attorneys impression of what the law might be if a case went to the state's Supreme Court. It's little more than a guess and is really just a guideline.

There is vast difference between being disciplined for not planting evidence and being disciplined in your situation here.

Regardless, I can't change the answer I've given here and remain honest with you. You have an argument you can try to make in the manner I've already told you. I wish I could tell you differently here, but you're position is not strong.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your time. I keep referring to the AG opinions because there aren't any state laws that address anything of this nature. The state law only states that a citizen may perform a citizen's arrest, but nothing about whether law enforcement should suggest or take custody of such. It's just silly that an employer can do this with no threat of recourse. I guess legal action isn't appropriate in this matter. Again, Thank you for your time and help. Have a good day.

I hope you have a good day too.

I think that the problem that you have is that there isn't any law saying that you couldn't have done it, while you are looking for laws saying that you could or that specifically address the issue.

In the absence of something specific, both the employer and you are left to speculate a bit and that is going to scare any attorney away from a public policy argument, because they like a nice, neat statute to point to so that they can clearly state that you were being punished for refusing to do something known to be illegal.
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