Refusal to Cooperate in Agency Investigation

Melville Johnson
April 16, 2020
The Federal Agency proves this charge against a Federal Employee with preponderant evidence, by establishing the following elements: (1) the employee was notified of the investigation; (2) the employee engaged in conduct constituting refusal or failure to corporate; and the refusal or failure was without cause.

Federal government employees have an obligation to cooperate in agency investigations. The key element of this charge is that the employee engaged in conduct that constituted a failure to cooperate. That failure can take several forms:

  • Refusal to turn over documents
  • Advice to another employee that he/she need not answer an investigator’s questions
  • Refusal to answer verbal or written questions during the interview
  • Failure to obey an order not to talk to a witness

If an employee reasonably believes that answers provided during an investigation could lead to a prosecution, he or she does have a right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment. An agency cannot legitimately take an action against an employee in this instance unless it adequately informs him "both that he is subject to discharge for not answering, and that his replies and their faults cannot be employed against him in a criminal case."

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.

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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