Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. There are a couple of avenues that HR can take. If what they find is legitimate, then they will probably terminate him. Because it is a breach of contract to over report the number of hours that one works, they may require that he pay that money back. And the worst case scenario they would sue him for those back wages. They could refer him to the district attorney for fraud, but it would be up to the district attorney to try to pursue something like that. There is a good chance that they may not even bother because it might be not worth the DA’s time to try to do that.
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You are certainly welcome. I don't have reason to believe that given his age and given the likely amount of money involved, the DA would pursue something like this. Basically, I think if he plays it smart and tries to make it right, he can forget about it. personally, I did the same thing back in college and I didn't run into any issues. Did you have any other questions for me?
I can certainly understand his nervousness. I would be very nervous as well. One of the things that I would recommend is that he admit to nothing because if they do decide to refer him to the DA, they can use his statements. I think that one of the things that he should do is just listen to what they have to say and just be as honest as possible. But one thing that I wish I had done differently was not admit to anything that could get me in trouble. He could simply make statements such as, “Well, I don’t recall.” This may not help him keep his job, but it could certainly keep him out of jail.
I see. If that is the case, then my recommendation to him would be not to admit to anything else at all, and just be as respectful and honest as possible about the situation. He should do what he can to keep it business related and understand that if they start talking criminal actions, he can say, "I don't really want to respond to this because only the DA has authority to bring charges and I don't want to say anything without my lawyer," even if he doesn't have one present.