Under POBAR, upon the filing of a formal written statement of charges, or whenever an interrogation focuses on matters that are likely to result in punitive action, that officer shall have the right of a representative of his or her choice who may be present at all times during the interrogation. The representative may not be someone subject to the same interrogation. Generally, if the officer feels that under the particular circumstances that the matters discussed can lead to punitive action then the officer has the right to request representation. If the employer knows that the matter discussed could lead to punitive action, they should provide the employee with proper written notice following the guidelines of POBAR. Determination on representation is judged on a casebycase basis. Although, determination is subjective to the officer, courts use an objective reasonable person standard to evaluate the circumstances. For the employer, it`s better to err on the side of allowing representation to avoid tainting the investigation and avoid any POBAR violations and unfair labor charges. If the officer is unsure whether or not to request representation, the officer should err on the side of requesting representation and/or contacting their union or appropriate counsel.
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