Richmond, VA asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Virginia

Q: My workplace is trying to use a plea of innocence as evidence for wrong doing. Should I seek representation?

My workplace is trying to punish me for "performance issues" and in their reasoning for punishment, they cite multiple instances where I plead innocence in personal conversation with my boss as evidence that I am guilty of "hiding work" or purposely misdoing work. That's literally a constitutional violation, right? Against my 5th amendment rights?

1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA

A: The 5th amendment right against self incrimination, found in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution and many state constitutions, works to shield you from testifying against yourself as against THE GOVERNMENT. So unless your employer is a Federal or State agency of the government, your situation does not give rise to your right against self incrimination, and you don't say who your employer is in your question. Next, the statements you made in your "personal conversation" may not be a violation of your right against self incrimination in any circumstance, because you have already made those statements to witnesses, who can then testify to the fact that you made them. Think of this, a man tells a waitress " I robbed Chase bank, downtown, yesterday." and the waitress goes to the police. His right against self incrimination has not been violated. He was not made to confess against himself TO THE GOVERNMENT. The server can testify to the fact that he made the statement.

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