Today’s question is: Can my coworkers, bosses, supervisors, anybody at my office be required to speak with an investigator with a Licensing Board or State Agency? And the answer to that is potentially.
Most Boards or State Agencies will not have a requirement that a third party speak with an investigator. Some, like attorneys with the State Bar, are required to report any unethical conduct that we know another attorney is having. So, in that particular situation, you’re going to have to speak with an investigator at some point because you’re making the complaint and you’re required to do so. Absent something like that, though, the only other time a witness will be required to speak with an investigator could be if there’s a deposition that is done. At that point, though, they’re likely speaking not only with the investigator but also with the Board’s attorney or the State Agency’s attorney as well.
There’s a possibility that they’ll reach out multiple times. They, being the investigator, reaching out to a coworker. There’s typically not a requirement that the coworker or supervisor, assuming these are all also licensed individuals, would have to speak to them absent some sort of deposition or rules like with the State Bar where you have to report as a licensed attorney, reporting other licensed attorneys for unethical behavior. Absent something like that, there’s not going to be a requirement that they speak with an investigator.
There are some other particular discovery tools, and there’s subpoena power for many of these boards and state agencies. So, when it comes to subpoenas, they can request certain documentation, request that a witness be present at a hearing, or request documentation in line with that. It could be something that’s harmful to your case, or it could be a fishing expedition where they’re trying to find anything might be relevant or helpful when prosecuting your case for your professional license.
So, there’s going to be some information exchanged. Typically, there won’t be a requirement that a coworker, say, a licensed supervisor or someone along those lines, has to speak with an investigator. Frankly, a lot of times when an investigator reaches out to another licensed professional who’s a coworker, they usually get scared off and don’t want to speak to them because they don’t want to say something that could be misconstrued. They don’t want to get in the middle of it. Sometimes they might be technically at fault too or the ones who caused the issue and don’t want that to come to light and they don’t want to speak with the investigator. And unless it’s one of those specific situations I just discussed, they don’t want to have to. So, I hope that answers that question. If you’ve got any follow-up questions or have a question that’s in a different topic, as long as it’s in professional license defense, we’re the firm for you.