Nelson Law Group
Employment Law Attorneys
SF Bay Area : 415-689-6590
Toll Free : 866-290-0424

Refusing to participate in workplace investigation justifies termination

In McGrory v. Applied Signal Technology, a California appellate court held that an employer was justified in firing an employee who refused to participate in an investigation of alleged workplace harassment. The long-time employee, who apparently had an excellent work history, was accused of harassing a co-worker on grounds of gender and sexual orientation. The employer then brought in an attorney to investigate the allegations, but the employee was standoffish and refused to answer her questions (and also gave misleading answers). The investigation ironically exonerated the employee of the harassment allegations but the employer fired him anyway for his refusal to be forthright with the investigator. The employee claimed he only refused to provide names of potential witnesses in order to protect their privacy, and that California law protects against retaliation for participation in workplace investigations. But the Court held that employees are only protected against retaliation from participating in formal investigations by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), not informal internal investigations. Regarding the employee's refusal to participate in the investigation, the Court said the refusal "does not shield an employee against termination or lesser discipline for either lying or withholding information during an employer's internal investigation..." Takeaway? Employees can be punished for being uncooperative or dishonest in internal workplace investigations.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information


Representing both employers and employees makes me a better lawyer, because I know how the other side thinks.

Read More


I can provide the same level of service as a large law firm, but more efficiently and at a lower cost.

Read More

How Can We Help ?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Keep In Touch

Nelson Law Group
345 West Portal Avenue
Suite 110
San Francisco, California 94127

Toll Free: 866-290-0424
Phone: 415-689-6590
Fax: 415-592-8671
Map & Directions
San Francisco Law Office Map