If I was identified as a “fact witness” in a discrimination case against my former employer, what my options are if I am asked to provide testimony?

I spoke with the plaintiff’s lawyer and have nothing to add. I left the employer on good terms and feel testifying against them will impact my career as I continue to work in this field. Also, I believe the plaintiff has misrepresenting my knowledge of certain facts. After my resignation, she had contacted me on several occasions with “work” questions but in retrospect I see that she was attempting to coerce certain opinions from me.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless you are subpoened to testify--that is, until and unless the plaintiff uses legal process to compel you to testify--you would not have to testify; you can refuse requests to testify. Once subpoened however, you would have to testify, or else be in contempt of court and face penalties, potentially including jail time. If subpoened, you could retain an attorney who could try to get the subpoena quashed on the grounds you have no relevant testimony or information, but that is unlikely to happen--the courts give wide lattidue to take testimony or gather evidence in order to see if there is anything relevant there. Also remember: if you know anything that could incriminate you criminally, you have a right to not testify as to it.

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