Interfering with Agency Investigation

Melville Johnson
April 10, 2020
It is very important that investigations within a federal agency are handled appropriately, and there is no interference. When a federal employee is charged with interfering with an agency investigation, serious consequences may arise.

The federal agency must prove this charge through preponderant evidence by showing:

  1. The agency is conducting an investigation or inquiry
  2. The employee committed conduct constituting interference with the investigation or inquiry. [1]

On occasion, this charge is brought against an employee who attempted to gain false information from another or intimidated a witness. In these types of cases there would be an intent component. It should be noted that an agency may charge an employee with interference and frame the charge in such a way that intent is not an element.

The most common defense to this charge is to claim that the conduct did not occur as alleged or that the charged conduct did not rise to the level of interference.The Board has concluded that an employee did not intentionally attempt to influence and intimidate witnesses during an agency investigation when he simply told the witnesses to tell the truth, making references to lawyers and the possible filing of a civil suit. The MSPB has noted that misconduct’s effect on the investigation itself is an important penalty consideration.

The federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. are highly experienced in MSPB matters such as these, and are willing and able to assist you in your federal employment legal matters. Call or message us today to discuss your claim and learn how we can assist you.


[1] Castellanosv. Dept. of Army, 62 MSPR 315 (1994).

This blog and web site published by Melville Johnson, P.C. should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney. Readers of this information should not act upon any information contained on this blog or website without seeking professional counsel.
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