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

Answers:

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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