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Administrative Law Litigation White Collar Crime

DOJ Corporate Enforcement Guidelines Are Placing Individual Defendants Between a Rock and a Whirlpool

For companies suspected of wrongdoing, cooperating with DOJ investigations and self-disclosing their misconduct often appears to be their only option to avoid prosecution and reduce large financial penalties. But, these benefits often come at a price, especially to company employees who are caught in the middle.

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For companies suspected of wrongdoing, cooperating with Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations and self-disclosing their misconduct often appears to be their only option to avoid prosecution and reduce large financial penalties. But, these benefits often come at a price, especially to company employees who are caught in the middle. To gain cooperation credit for voluntary self-disclosure, companies are expected to identify all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the alleged misconduct. And as part of demonstrating their cooperation to the government, companies often pressure their employees to submit to interviews, including with DOJ, or risk losing their jobs and/or indemnification of legal fees. Such scenarios, which have become prevalent in today’s corporate enforcement environment, place employees “between the rock and the whirlpool” by arguably coercing their testimony and infringing on their constitutional right against self-incrimination. See, Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493, 498 (1967).

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