Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Minnesota

A friend witnessed a co-worker create a theft from their retail store, when approached by their Asset Protection manager she was told that she will need to supply a statement even though the co-worker has been caught on tape stealing! The person in question however is a friend of hers and she is conflicted between her frienship with this person or her job! The Asset protection manager told her she either supplies a statement or it could mean her job, now i believe our Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to be free from compelled self-incrimination. So my question is does she have to give a statement and if she doesnt can she lose her job over it?

Park Rapids, MN

Asked on 2/07/14, 2:39 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

The Fifth Amendment says your friend cannot be forced to incriminate herself. It says nothing about incriminating others. Besides, it applies only to questioning in government proceedings. It does not apply to private matters between an employer and employee.

There may be other reasons why your friend could not be fired for refusing to give a statement. For example, she may have a contract or a collective-bargaining agreement that spells out when she can be fired. But the Fifth Amendment does not protect her if her company decides to fire her for refusing to cooperate.

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Answered on 2/07/14, 3:00 pm
Tricia Dwyer Tricia Dwyer Esq & Assoc PLLC

Generally, self-incrimination refers to the giving of evidence including testimony which may subject the witness to criminal prosecution. Generally, employment is 'at will' absent contractual agreement to the contrary. Generally, employers are free to make a multitude of requirements so long as they are not violative of law or otherwise violating their own contractual agreements which may include employment policies. Your friend may seek legal advice. It is not uncommon for employees unsure of 'what to do' with regard to employer demands to turn to an attorney for private, confidential legal counsel. Tricia Dwyer Esq at 612-296-9666, Tricia Dwyer Esq & Assoc PLLC, Minnesota Employee Rights Attorney,

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Answered on 2/07/14, 3:04 pm

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