If my company is involved in a civil lawsuit and I’ve been ordered to cooperate with their lawyers or be fired, can they do that?

Asked on August 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a written employment contract limiting the reasons that you could be terminated--and this is not one of the permitted reasons--then yes, they can do this. Without an employment contract, you are an "employee at will." An employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason--including for not cooperating with the company's lawyers. Worse, if you refuse to cooperate, you will be ignoring managment/supervisor's instructions and being insubordinate, which means that you technically could be fired "for cause"--which means that you could potentially not only be fired, but also be denied unemployment compensation or benefits.

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