While some people regularly call on a private investigator in their legal actions, others are reluctant to employ this professional evidence. Our private detective agency, located in Miami, Hollywood, and BocaRaton, Florida, is regularly called upon by clients unfamiliar with the role of the private investigator detective.
Universal Investigations Agency, Inc. Miami answers your questions:
1/ I am a business manager, and for a few weeks, I have noticed the disappearance of goods on the production site (cement, sand, gravel, lime, etc.). I do not know if the thefts are of internal or external origin. I considered hiring a private investigator. Is this a legal process?
If your company welcomes customers who buy and take away the goods, you will need to set up a human control at the site’s exit to ensure that the products taken away have been paid for (checking of invoices, transport vouchers, etc.)
If no anomaly is reported and you find that goods are still disappearing, you will need to set up surveillance around the site outside of the company's openings. Thefts can be committed at night by individuals entering the area.
A private investigator can, in all legality, carry out this surveillance to identify the perpetrator(s) of the thefts. You can then file a complaint with the competent Police by communicating the detective's report.
But if the monitoring shows that no theft is committed outside opening hours, the origin is likely internal. Malicious employees can discreetly steal products from the site during their working hours.
The monitoring of employees during their working hours is strictly supervised.
The judges accept that by its disciplinary power, the employer has the right to control and monitor the activity of its employees during their working time. But this right obliges him to an obligation of loyalty towards the employees. Before implementing a specific employee surveillance system (video surveillance, detective, etc.), the company must inform them individually. This information can be mentioned in the employment contract when hiring.
If this obligation is respected, the Private Investigator will be able to conduct surveillance without infringing on the respect for the employee's private life.
The detective's private investigation will make it possible to establish the facts of the theft attributable to the employee. The employer can then act on the criminal ground by filing a complaint about theft. If the courts sanction the employee, the employer will initiate dismissal proceedings based on this conviction.
The employer also has the choice to act in the field of the execution of the employment contract by motivating the dismissal of the employee employment contract's execution by encouraging the employee's release by a breach of the obligation of loyalty vis-à-vis his employer.
It is, therefore, possible to entrust this type of mission to a private detective when all the obligations previously enacted are met.(Prior information to the employee, respect for privacy, etc.)
2/ I would like to obtain a record of my husband's telephone calls. I suspect him of having an extramarital affair. Can a private detective accede to my request?
It is not uncommon for this type of request to be made to private investigators. But, as this is confidential information, only the judicial police can obtain this information within the framework of an official investigation and only on judicial requisition.
A private detective has no judicial police prerogative and cannot legally obtain and communicate this type of information.
The profession of a private detective is regulated and subject to a code of ethics. No detective has the power to collect this type of information. It's illegal.
If you want to confirm your suspicions, the private detective can carry out a few hours of surveillance at times that you deem appropriate (on leaving work, between noon and two, during a sports or leisure activity, a scheduled absence... ).
This process is legal and perfectly feasible by the private investigator.
3/ I am responsible for a construction company, and one of my employees has been on sick leave for almost three months. I learned that he was working on other sites during this work stoppage. Can I request the services of a private detective?
If the suspension of the employment contract, even for sick leave, releases the employee from his obligations towards his employer, he is still bound by his duty of loyalty.
The employee must not commit acts that could constitute a breach of this obligation. The fact of exercising a remunerated professional activity during a sick leave constitutes a real and serious cause for dismissal.
Case law confirms this trend, particularly when the employer suffers a loss.
A private investigator can validly investigate to prove the employee's disloyalty. However, he must act while respecting the employee’s privacy and refrain from carrying out surveillance from the latter's home. All investigations must be carried out on public roads.
4/ My wife has changed her behavior for over a month. She comes home from work later and later and claims over time. I noticed that she often called the same mobile number. Can a private detective identify this number to obtain the name and address of this correspondent?
As with obtaining telephone records from a third party, a private investigator does not have the power to identify the holder of a telephone line.
The texts which govern the profession do not confer on it any power of judicial police, and it is therefore impossible for it to obtainthis information.
There are other completely legal means to confirm or refute your doubts.
5/ I have been separated from my husband for 5five months.He left the marital home and refused to communicate his new address. After a summons to share this address by the JAF, he decided to provide it. He indicates that he is staying with a friend 40 miles from my home. I know that is false and that he lives with his mistress. How can I prove it?
An investigation carried out by a private investigator will make it possible to confirm whether your spouse lives at the address.Otherwise, further studies will identify the address where he lives and the person with whom he lives.
All these elements will be recorded in an investigation report that can be produced in court.
6/ One of my former employees, subject to a non-competition clause, carries out the same activity but in a town 30 miles away. However, this company has three agencies, one of which is in the same city as ours. I learned that this former employee works two days a week in this agency. Is it possible to consider investigations by a private investigator?
Above all, you must ensure that the non-competition clause that binds the former employee to your company is legal. If this is the case, a private detective can conduct investigations proving the violation of the non-competition clause.
To be admissible, the information collected by the detective must be from the public highway and must not infringe the employee's privacy.
The means implemented to provide proof of the violation of anon-competition clause are multiple: surveillance, spinning, taking photographs, collection of testimonies, etc.
It is recalled that to sanction the violation of anon-competition clause, the payment of the financial compensation by the former employer must have been made.
7/ My daughter had seen my husband several times in a vehicle driven by a woman when he was supposed to be at work. When I told him about it, he said to me that a colleague went to client meetings. I have significant doubts. I'm considering hiring a detective to find out who this woman is because I have her license plate number. Is it possible?
As it is often recalled, the private detective does not have judicial police powers and therefore is not authorized to access the vehicle registration file.
No detective will be able to provide you with this information.
So you have two options:
You agree to believe your husband until proven otherwise.
You don't believe it, and you want to know the truth. Int his case, the use of the services of a private investigator can be beneficial.A few days of monitoring will provide the answers to your questions.
8/ My ex-wife is requesting a reassessment of the alimony because she has indicated that she no longer works. However, my children told me that she had found a new job and left every morning for work. She does not seem to have declared this job to the administrative or social bodies. How canI prove it?
Indeed, you have the possibility of claiming the income of the latter from the tax office of your ex-wife.
This information relates to the previous year’s income and is of no interest to you if your spouse has recently lost his job and is requesting a reassessment of the support payments.
In your case, if she carries out an undeclared remunerated activity, you can call on a private investigator who will investigate her professional situation.
The interest of this survey is to demonstrate that your ex-partner goes every day or at least regularly to a place where she engages in a professional activity.
The interviewer will identify the place of employment, the employer, and the position held.
Of course, the investigations will be carried out with the strictest respect for your ex's privacy.
The information collected will be the subject of an investigation report.
It is possible to confirm the surveillance by requesting a bailiff who will draw up a report on the places where your ex-wife carries out her activity.
9/ My husband left the marital home three weeks ago. He liquidated his company and declared himself without resources. I don't know where he lives. He no longer answers the phone. I recently learned that he is still working and living with another woman. We have two children, and I am considering filing for divorce. I need to prove he's lying. I want to use the services of a private investigator, but friends have told me that the rates are high and the results very uncertain. What can I do?
Given the lack of transparency on his situation and in the context of a possible divorce procedure, it is necessary to surround yourself with all the guarantees.
First, you must report the abandonment of the marital home to the police station of your place of residence, then contact a lawyer for advice.
In your situation, it is helpful to enlist the services of a private investigator. The latter will start by finding the address of your spouse.
The monitoring will make it possible to know if he lives alone or with another person. They will lead to knowing if your husband exercises a professional activity.
The information collected will be the subject of an investigation report produced before the court hearing.
All the information collected by the detective will allow this magistrate to decide on complete transparency. He will set the amount of the alimony and the duty of assistance with the information communicated to him.
This type of mission can be completed in a few days. The investigation costs may seem high, but they will contribute to obtaining just maintenance claims. In the absence of this evidence, the court will only award you a small amount of child support and sometimes no duty of care.
Each situation is different and sometimes complex; the private detective must adapt his technical and legal response according to it.In most cases, the private investigator provides a solution that leads to the admissibility of his report. Still, sometimes, faced with incongruous requests(identification of telephone number or license plate, etc.), he will propose legal and valid alternative solutions to injustice.
For more information on how to contract a private investigator, contact Universal Investigations Agency, Inc. today at (954) 305-6275
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By Victor Elbeze Lead Investigator & Owner ofUniversal Investigations Agency, Inc.