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Employment Law/Suspended for false accusation


I work for the IRS in a clerical capacity.  I received a visit from 2 IRS security investigators stating I was on paid suspension pending an investigation that I told a co-worker I was going to blow up the building.  I have never made reference to anything like this or had any confrontation with co-workers.  They will not identify the person who accused me of these things.  I am to wait until I hear from them about the findings of the case.  At the time of the visit they did not offer me the opportunity to deny these claims.  They left me a voicemail later stating I could write up a statement to include in their report if I wanted to.  What steps should I take next? Regardless of the outcome, my reputaton is forever tarnished, especially when it comes to a security issue as such.  What recourse, if any, do I have to file a slander or creating a hostile work environment complaint ?  They did call me later and ask if the things they talked to me about in person could be taken as being under oath, even though I was never mirandized.
Thank you for your time.

Mary - You don't know the outcome of the investigation yet, so it is premature to start planning your next steps.  If you are in a union, contact your union rep for help.  If you are not, you should find out as much as you can about the process of these investigations.  Find out what you can do to cooperate in the investigation (I'm assuming you are innocent of the charge).  Read whatever you have been given by the investigators and understand your situation as well as possible.  

People are given their Miranda rights when they are arrested for a crime, which has not happened to you.  You should write a response denying that you made the threat.  You should not agree to having you original response put into official status unless you can see it first.  Your reputation isn't ruined because there has been no finding that you did what you are accused of doing.  Sit tight, cooperate, learn everything you can about the investigation process, and enjoy your time off if you can.  Write back if it goes against you.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire


I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.


Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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