Magazine article Security Management

U.S. Judicial Decisions. (Legal Reporter)

Magazine article Security Management

U.S. Judicial Decisions. (Legal Reporter)

Article excerpt

Retaliatory discharge. In a recent case, an Illinois appellate court ruled that an employee of a private company cannot invoke his Fifth Amendment rights during a corporate investigation.

Darryl Veazey was hired by LaSalle Telecommunications in 1989. In September 1996, Veazey's supervisor, Ralph Newcomb, received threatening messages on his company voice mail. Newcomb played the messages for several colleagues, all of whom believed that the voice belonged to Veazey. The company reported the incident to the police. A month later, a female caller left a message on Newcomb's voice mail threatening Newcomb's wife.

On October 22, 1996, Veazey was asked to attend a meeting about the incident. Two LaSalle managers, Mike Mason and Jack Burke, confronted Veazey about the messages. Veazey denied leaving them. However, Mason and Burke asked Veazey to read a transcript of the threatening messages to be compared to the original recordings. Veazey refused and was suspended without pay.

Three days later, Veazey was called to another meeting with Mason and Burke. Again, Veazey was asked to read the transcript. Again, Veazey refused. He was fired.

Veazey filed a lawsuit against LaSalle, claiming retaliatory discharge. Veazey argued that the company retaliated against him for invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. When asked to give a sample of his voice, Veazey contended, he was in a manager's office rather than a laboratory setting, no security was present, and he was offered no assurances that the tape would not be used against him--as a substitute for the real tape. …

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