When you come under investigation as a federal or state employee, even some of your most mundane tasks can be looked at nefariously. Things like deleting a draft of an email or memo, cleaning up your desk and throwing notes away, and even the daily disposing of documents can all become suspicious activities and are likely to be inferred as guilt.
You may think you have nothing to worry about if you’ve done nothing wrong, but nothing could be further from the truth. An investigation doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, but it also doesn’t mean you won’t be held liable.
You need to coordinate with your supervisor, department director, or agency chair to ensure you are abreast of any plans that may already be in place. This also gives you an opportunity to assess the severity of the situation and your personal exposure. If you are concerned that your interests will not adequately be covered in your team’s plan, it is time for you to seek outside counsel. It is important that you seek outside counsel as early as possible to gain access to all of the evidence collected against you. The legal proceedings following an investigation can drag on for years and it is not uncommon for evidence to be lost over time.
Limiting Your Exposure and Covering Your Costs
Some employees are covered by company insurance policies. But, professional liability Insurance can be purchased to cover your personal exposure and legal fees that may not be covered by your department if you’re held individually liable for any actions taken in your job capacity as a government employee. The coverage is fairly inexpensive and the government picks up half the tab for many senior employees. Even if your insurance expenses are not covered by your employer, it's worth having for your protection. As little as $300 annually could get you more than $1 million in coverage for both damages and attorney’s fees. Even if your agency has inside counsel, you can’t always assume that your interests and theirs are the same. Insurance covers your expenses for the outside counsel you are entitled to.
If you find yourself under investigation as a government employee, you need counsel skilled at navigating the unique negotiations associated with government investigations. You also need a team of expert investigators working for you. Contact Claiborne Ferguson Law Firm, P.A. and Blackwatch Investigations, when you need representation that leaves nothing to chance.