Isa n employee entitled to be notified of an internal investigation?

I was recently fired from a sheriff’s office. I refused to resign because I did not think I had done anything wrong. It is only after I file for unemployment that I find out I was the target of an internal investigation that had been ongoing for about 1 month. Is my employer required to address this with me? I thought I was fired over taking too long of a break but it was in fact due to an investigation I was never aware of and would never been aware of I had not filed for unemployment benefits.

Asked on September 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

By law, an employer is not generally required to tell an employee that they are the subject on an internal investigation and can end an employment relationship at any time.  However, some sheriff's offices do have a civil service program that sets out procedures for internal investigations.  If they did not follow the procedures set out by their own policies, it can make their second set of excuses suspect and help you prevail in your unemployment claim.  If an unemployment hearing officer rules agaisnt you, then you have the right to appeal, and should based on these facts.  If you are a licensed peace officer, it should also be interesting to see what they put on your discharge paperwork to Austin (regarding the carrying of your commission).  If they listed you as a general discharge in that paperwork, then listed a different reason in you unemployment paperwork, then someone fudged (i.e. lied) in government documents.  If you were the member of a union or similar group like many officers are, see if you can get legal counsel to help you at least look at the paperwork from all three sources (when they let you go, what they sent to Austin, and what they told the Workforce Commission).  Depending on how these three line up, you may have some remedies other than just the processing of your unemployment claim.

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