This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
We represent federal employees in federal agency investigations. Generally, most federal employment misconduct cases start as a result of a complaint by other federal employees alleging misconduct.
When a federal employee is notified that they are under investigation or suspects that they may be investigated regarding possible misconduct, it is very important to speak to a federal employment attorney for advice and possible representation.
Common Types of Federal Employee Investigations
While it is very difficult to cover each type of potential misconduct that a federal employee might be investigated for, some of the more frequent investigations involve:
- Misconduct in the Workplace
- Lack of Candor
- Misuse of a Government Computer/Internet
- Misuse of a Government Credit Card, Vehicle or Travel Card
- Discrimination or Harassment in the Workplace
- Time Card/Attendance Issues
- Off-Duty Criminal, Alcohol or Traffic Conduct
- Security Violations
- Disrespectful Conduct in the Workplace
A Typical Federal Employee Investigation
The usual process for a federal employee investigation begins when the federal employee is notified (usually with very short notice or even the same day) that an investigator needs to speak with them about an issue. Investigators do not usually provide information about the nature of the complaint or investigative issues until the federal employee arrives at the meeting.
The investigator can be a supervisor, an agency investigator, an individual from human resources, or an agent assigned by the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). Generally, a misconduct investigation starts with very little advice or information about what a federal employee should expect or what rights are available to them.
In many cases a federal employee shows up for a scheduled meeting and an investigator just starts asking them questions. In other cases, the interviewer may start by asking the federal employee to sign a statement agreeing to be voluntarily interviewed and waiving their rights. This is the most usual method and offers little protection to a federal employee.
In other cases, a federal employee may be asked to sign what is known as a Kalkines notice, understanding that they are being ordered to speak to investigators under penalty of disciplinary action for not doing so. In such a case, many investigations can then lead to sustained federal employee discipline and potential appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Deciding when and how to provide testimony to agency investigators is a case-by-case decision. Each case varies, so obtaining legal advice is very important.
Federal Employee Interviews
An interview can last 30 minutes to many hours. Following the interview, many investigators summarize the testimony given by the federal employee and attempt to have them sign an official statement (or sworn declaration) about the information they provided. It is very important for a federal employee to carefully review the written summary. A federal employee will want to ensure that investigators do not insert their own characterizations (many times incorrect) of the statements made into a final written statement signed or sworn to by them.
Retain a Federal Employment Attorney for Advice or Representation
Having a federal employment lawyer represent or advise a federal employee during the investigation process is important. An attorney can advise and/or represent a federal employee before, after, and in many cases, during the investigative interview. It is important to have such counsel early because doing so can help prevent or mitigate potential disciplinary action later.
Furthermore, it can often help that an investigator knows that the federal employee is represented by counsel because they tend to follow the rules for doing so more carefully. Furthermore, should the issues involved turn potentially criminal in nature, it is important to be represented.
It is important for a federal employee to be represented by a federal employment attorney during investigative interviews and misconduct investigations. Berry & Berry, PLLC represents federal employees in these types of federal employment investigations and can be contacted at (703) 668-0070 or www.berrylegal.com to arrange for an initial consultation.
This past week saw 218 homes sold in Fairfax County. The least expensive condo, single-family home or townhouse sale over the past seven days was $180,000 while the most expensive…
Today (Thursday) marks a decade of community service, youth leadership, political activism and civic engagement in Virginia by the Hamkae Center. Over the last 10 years, the local nonprofit has…
The Faith Baptist Church that has occupied 301 Center Street South in Vienna for about seven decades will officially be torn down. Faced with increasing maintenance costs, the Vienna Town…
Arrowbrook Centre, an anchoring mixed-use neighborhood near the Innovation Center Metro station, is moving one step forward to completion. Several pieces of the 54-acre development, which is bounded by the…
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road