You go to work each day and do your job to the best of your ability. You either love what you do or you hate it, but you need your job to make ends meet and provide for your family. Regardless how you feel about your place of employment, you put your best foot forward regularly. Perhaps you’re guilty of slacking off a little when you’re overly tired or it’s the end of the day on a Friday and you find yourself spending your last half hour at work planning your weekend activities more than working, but you’re not guilty of any wrongdoing.
When Human Resources or your boss calls and wants to see you, you probably don’t even worry. You might assume they are congratulating you on a recent job well done, talking to you about a current project you’re working on, or even asking you about the insurance you want for the upcoming year. If you’re not guilty of anything else, you’re not overly worried about why they want to see you. When they tell you that you’ve been accused of doing something wrong or committing a crime at work, your heart sinks.
You’ve been wrongly accused at work, and now you don’t know what to do. You might be placed on administrative leave, suspended, reprimanded, or even placed on an ongoing investigation. You’re terrified, worried, and you have no idea what to do next. Attorney Max Keller states, “Employment law is confusing, and no one deserves to suffer at the hands of a wrongful accusation in the workplace when there are options available to you in the form of a defense attorney with the knowledge and know-how to successfully take on a corporate accusation.”
Understand the Differences Between Workplace Wrongdoing and Criminal Activity
If you are arrested at work, you are given rights called Miranda Rights. You’re not required to speak to anyone, you have the right to an attorney, and you have the right to defend yourself. A workplace investigation is not the same thing. If your boss or company is investigating you, you probably assume you don’t need an attorney, but you do. You need someone to help you understand what your company is doing, if they are doing it within the confines of the law, and how you can fight back.
Every situation is different because every workplace is different. If you work in the medical field, you aren’t going to undergo the same kind of wrongful accusations at work someone in the retail industry is going to face. You must talk to an attorney so you know what rights you have and what to expect.
If you did nothing wrong, be transparent with your boss. Cooperate with their needs while defending yourself from these accusations. You may tell the boss you didn’t do anything wrong, but do not allow your anger to get the best of you. You must remain calm and in control to avoid further issues at work. Do not call names, do not walk out of your office, and do not quit your job in the middle of an investigation because it makes you look like the guilty party.
Review the Company Handbook
All companies are different, which is why it’s difficult for your attorney to consult you about what’s wrong and what’s right in the office. What’s acceptable in one office might not be acceptable in another, but your attorney can go over the handbook to help you understand the terms used to confuse employees and make you feel as if you haven’t an idea what’s going on.
Once you know what you’re being accused of, what’s going to happen next, and how things are going to proceed from this point, talk to your attorney about how to handle yourself during the investigation. Your attorney cannot do anything for you other than guide you through, but that kind of support is helpful for people unfamiliar with the law and what is right at work. Your job depends on what you do now, what kind of paperwork you file, and if you decide to file a lawsuit following what you believe to be an unfair loss of employment.