About employment

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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About employment

I am currently on suspension without pay from my job due to a situation that occurred a few weeks ago. I work at a juvenile detention center. At the time, I went into the dorm to relieve another staff for a break, during that time I noticed a youth’s window covered and door closed. I unlocked the door and asked the youth what was going on, the youth advised me that he was taking a hygiene and that the other staff in dorm had approved it. I didn’t want to go any further into the room, that would be a PREA violation. I closed the door and stood by it. My fellow co-worker then approached me and said they were refusing to come out of the room, that’s when I became aware that there were 2 youth inside the room. I then knocked on the door and advised them to come out. A few minutes later, both youth exited the room. I asked them what they were doing in there, they said working out and didn’t give me any further details. I assumed something might have occurred but I wasn’t completely sure and I wanted confirmation before I made an allegation or assumption. I learned that the youth were using a cell phone while in the room. However, I had no prior knowledge before going into the dorm nor did I ever see an actual phone or have substantial evidence to prove it. Therefore I didn’t report this. Can I be terminated or charged with criminal charges?

Asked on April 13, 2019 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot be charged with criminal charges unless there is evidence that you knowingly allowed them to violate the law: criminal liability depends on your knowledge or intent, and acting without a criminal intent does not make you criminally liable.
Unless you have a written employment contract (or your position is covered by a union or collective bargaining agreement) which would prevcent your suspension or termination for this reason, however, they may suspend or terminate you. Except when protected by a contract, you are an "employee at will" and may be disciplined, up to and including termination, at any time, for any reason.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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