Can my employer make me sign paper that states that I know that he is not doing anything unlawful at our place of business?

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2012

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Can my employer make me sign paper that states that I know that he is not doing anything unlawful at our place of business?

An ex-employee is claiming that my employer (a dentist) is conducting illegal things in the office. This ex-employee was trying to claim unemployment and it was denied. My employer had a meeting with all dental assistants, including myself, and said that we all had to write and sign a paper stating that “I know” nothing illegal is going on. Problem is, I don’t know if anything is done illegal to my knowledge. He said we weren’t allowed to state “to my knowledge” on our form. Can he legally make me sign the form?

Asked on June 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you are terminated for refusing to do something which is illegal, you could have a legal action for unlawful termination. Attesting to something untrue is illegal, so you could have a cause of action IF you are fired AND can show that there was, or there at least was reasonable cause to believe, that illegal activities were going on. So there is a chance you could later bring a legal action if terminated improperly.

On the other hand, if you do sign this and the dentist is later sued (or even arrested) and  your statement is used or attempted to be used to defend him, you could find yourself facing liability, too, for having made a fraudulent statement; it is no defense to liability to say that you were afraid of losing your job and that is why you signed.

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 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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