We have had clients in White Plains, NY come to us who have had claims made against them in the work place. For example, against some sort of sexual harassment, some sort of inappropriate touching and the question then becomes what happens now and do I need a lawyer, when I’m answering my bosses questions or the Human resources questions? My answer to that is you may need a lawyer but you may not be entitled to a lawyer, it depends on who the employer is, in some settings. For example, in municipal settings where there are union contracts or there are provisions of state laws that cover the situation, the employee may be entitled to have a lawyer present at what we call a disciplinary interview. In the private setting the employee typically has no right to have an attorney present when being interviewed and our experience is that the request for the presence of an attorney is usually met with an affirmative,’ No’. I will also add that failure to answer and employers questions concerning a complaint may be deemed to be insubordination and could give rise to some disciplinary action including termination, the only caveat I’m going to add to that is that when the allegations of the complaint could involve some sort of criminal charge. For instances, a sexual assault, there are fifth amendment applications in other words implications would be admitting things that you don’t have to be admitting. That’s when the bells should go off that those questions even if you are charged with insubordination should not be answered.
This informational blog post was provided by Jane Gould, an experienced New York Employment Attorney.