What are my rights if I'm being called for a deposition where a company I used to work for is suing my current company? 19 Answers as of August 15, 2012

I worked for 1 company that is now suing the company that I currently work for. My current employer informed me today that their lawyer would be calling me soon for a deposition. I am seeking legal advice on this as I am afraid that I could lose my job over my responses to some of the questions that I may be asked.

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Fisher, Butts, Sechrest & Warner, P.A. | Matthew W. Birk
You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice at the deposition.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/15/2012
Sprattlin Castor LLC | Nancy Castor Sprattlin
More information is needed. It really depends on the nature of the underlying case, the circumstances of your employment and your employment title.

Are you a manager? Are you an alleged witness or are you the subject of the lawsuit (i.e. Non compete or non solicit issues)?

If you are a manager and a witness, your employer's counsel would most likely represent the Company and you during the deposition.

If you are not a manager and are concerned about retaliation, you can certainly express your concerns to your manager, HR and/or employer's counsel and refuse to appear, especially if the deposition is scheduled during your off days/hours.

If the deposition is scheduled during work hours and you are getting paid, you will likely have to appear, but just express your concerns!

If you are nonetheless apprehensive about this, you should consult with an employment attorney in person!
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/15/2012
Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
As an employee of a company which is a party to a lawsuit, you may be required by your employer to appear for a deposition.

Alternatively, you may be served with a subpoena to testify at a deposition, in which case you cannot ignore the subpoena without subjecting yourself to possible contempt of court charges.

If you are going to be deposed, you must cooperate and answer the questions asked of you under oath, unless you have a legal reason to refuse to answer a particular question. You have the right to hire your own counsel to appear with you at the deposition and protect your interests.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/15/2012
James M. Osak, P.C.
James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
You tell the truth. Don't lie . . . that's perjury. If company fires you you'll have a lawsuit against them on "public policy" grounds. They're NOT supposed to punish someone for testifying . . . even if it goes against them. That would be a wrongful termination.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/15/2012
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
Since you are not a party to the lawsuit, they would have to subpoena you for a deposition. If a subpoena is issued for you to attend a deposition, you will have to appear.

If your answers would place you in criminal jeopardy, you can always invoke your 5th Amendment rights.

Otherwise, you may have to truthfully answer the questions. Prior to your deposition you may wish to speak with an attorney who can assist you in truthfully answering the questions but maybe in a way that will also protect your interests.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Robert J. Slotkin | Robert J. Slotkin
    If you are subpoenaed, you have to appear. I would recommend spending a few hundred dollars to hire a lawyer to appear at the deposition with you. He can object to questions that you don't want to answer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    This is a common situation. You will be under oath at the deposition. That means you must answer questions fully and truthfully.

    While you have a privilege in certain cases to decline to answer questions (for instance, the attorney-client privilege, or the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination), you must fully and truthfully answer questions to which no privilege applies.

    You would not have a privilege simply because you believe your answer is against the interests of your current employer, and you fear that your employer will retaliate against your for answering that question. Your new company will likely have you meet with its attorneys beforehand to prepare you for the deposition. Keep in mind that these attorneys' duty of loyalty is to the company. If you believe that there is some conflict or risk of adverse consequences as a result of what you might say, you would be wise to contact an attorney of your choice to seek advice.

    That meeting with your own attorney should come before you meet with the attorneys for your company. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Steven Miller | Steven Miller
    You can ask that your employer supply you with a lawyer not connected to the company, and that this should be paid for by the company per labor code section 2802. the lawyer your company is using to be with you may have a conflict of interest. I would ask the company lawyer to put in writing he has no conflict of interest, and that everything you tell him is protected by the attorney client privilege including that he will not reveal any communication to your current employer. If he does not, he may have a conflict and you should insist on them hiring an independent lawyer at their expense per 2802.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Coane and Associates
    Coane and Associates | Bruce Coane
    Assuming you have been subpoenaed, you could file a motion to quash the subpoena, or otherwise work with the lawyer to reschedule the deposition or to set up other parameters.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
    If you have been served with a subpoena, you must appear and testify at the deposition. If you have not been served with a subpoena, you may ignore the deposition. But, since this is a request from your current employer, you could be discharged for not cooperating. Basically, you have no rights.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Jennifer L. Gottschalk, Esq. | Jennifer Gottschalk
    I would explain those concerns to my current employer and get assurances from them that your job is secure.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Gregory T. Gibbs | Gregory T. Gibbs
    If you are called and sworn as a witness to testify at a deposition you have an obligation to truthfully answer questions that do not call for privileged information. You are not required to answer questions that call for the disclosure of privileged communications, such as attorney client, doctor patient, accountant client and, minister parishioner communications. However, if you think you may be asked to disclose such information it would be advisable to tell your new employer's attorney and ask the attorney to object to your providing that kind of information. If you fail to answer questions that are not protected by privilege you could be held in contempt of court and jailed or fined or both. It is a violation of Michigan public policy to terminate an employee for giving truthful testimony under oath. Depending on the kind of case you are being deposed in it may also be a violation of the statute the litigants are proceeding under. For example, if the suit is brought under the civil rights laws, it is a violation of the anti-retaliation provisions of those laws to demote, fire or take away a benefit of employment because you give truthful testimony in a proceeding under the law.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Charles E. Clos
    As you will be served with a subpoena and testify under oath, you must tell the truth. If you are afraid of criminal prosecution you should retain a lawyer to attend the deposition with you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, P.C.
    Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, P.C. | Marshall B. Belloven
    If your current company or former company designated you as a "witness," then you will ultimately be required to have your deposition taken. If you do not show up, sanctions may be imposed against your current employer in what is likely hostile litigation. Your best bet is to go to the deposition with your OWN attorney, and only after you are thoroughly prepped for it. Please note that in a majority of my employment and labor cases, my clients are deposed as a matter of course; and I have represented numerous employees.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    The Phillips Law Firm
    The Phillips Law Firm | Joseph J Ganz
    If you are subpeoned to appear at a deposition and placed under oath you must answer truthfully or the penalty is perjury It would be illegal and an act of discrimination in violation of public policy to terminate you for obeying the law and refusing to violate the law. Having said that I would discuss this with your current employer and its lawyer and express your concern and anxiety about the process.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
    You have a right to an attorney and to be treated in fair, reasonable and legal manner which is relative to the situation. You also need to tell the whole truth in response to any question. Attached is a Deposition Review Sheet for your reference that has some general guidelines. Contact your own attorney or any attorney involved in the case if you want more specific information about the situation.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY Z DWORIN
    LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY Z DWORIN | JEFFREY Z DWORIN
    You can be compelled to attend a deposition. Answer all questions honestly and you have whistleblower protection if you say anything that hurts your current employer and they take retaliatory action.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Offices of Michael N. Stafford | Michael N. Stafford
    You are legally required to attend the deposition however, you may retain an attorney to represent you other than the Company's attorney. If you feel the answers you will give could have you fired you should consult with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Clayman, Tapper & Baram LLC | Michael Hafkin
    It depends if your responses will reflect your personal wrongdoing or the company's. If it the company's, then there are some public policy exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine, which may apply to you.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/14/2012
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