It is not unusual for otherwise innocent people to be a part of potentially questionable activity. You may have started your job with aspirations of gaining promotions, awards and other incentives offered by your employer. What you may not have expected, however, was to come under investigation for white-collar crime.

It may be somewhat surprising to consider, but your work environment may have encouraged behaviors that were not entirely ethical. While you undoubtedly thought that your actions or the actions of your co-workers would not cause anyone harm, you may now wonder what negative effects you could face if authorities charge you with a crime.

Ambiguous cues

In some high-stakes workplaces, meeting certain goals is a necessity of the job. If someone out-performs you, your employment could end up in jeopardy. While you would not necessarily undermine a co-worker or do anything to make someone else look bad, your employer may encourage you and other workers to do whatever it takes to reach a certain goal. If workers take that type of statement literally, some could carry out questionable behaviors.

Your employers could also present a nonchalant attitude toward maintaining a high level of ethics in the workplace. In fact, they may indicate that no internal repercussions would result if a worker bent the rules a bit to reach a particular milestone. They could also praise workers who took significant financial risks with favorable results, which could encourage workers to take even riskier actions.

Disregard for legality

In some cases, employers who have earned success while working high-stakes jobs may feel that certain securities laws and other legal parameters are unnecessary in the workplace. Of course, even if your employer disagrees with Illinois state laws or federal laws, it does not mean that you could not end up facing criminal charges in the event of an investigation.

If authorities are investigating the company for which you work and you have concerns about your association with the company, you may want to take a proactive approach to determine your legal options. Discussing the matter with an experienced attorney could help you better understand the risks you face, possible charges that could result, your defense options and how to handle an investigation. This time can certainly be nerve-wracking, and you undoubtedly want someone on your side.