What are the consequences for not showing up for a subpoena or refusing to testify as a defendant in a civil case?

I got subpoenaed for a lawsuit against my boss on both sides of the case. If I testify against my boss

and my boss loses his case, I’m sure it’ll make my work situation extremely rough to say the least. I’m sure

by law he can’t fire me directly because of the testimony, however there are other ways around that I’m

sure. So how long would I go to jail for if I refuse to testify?

Asked on February 15, 2019 under Business Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

1) Actually, you are wrong: your employer may terminate you for testifying. Employment is employment at will: unless you have an employment contract guarantying your employment, your employer may terminate you for essentially any reason not barred by law, including testifying in a civil case against them (there is no legal protection for testifying against your employer in a private lawsuit).
2) If you vioalte the subpoena, you can be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court is discretionary on the part of the judge--there is no way to say what he or she would give you. It can be a fine of tens or hundreds of dollars per day until you testify; it could be jail for a day or twom, or until you testify (subject to some reasonable maximum of usually several weeks).


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