What is my obligation regarding a lawsuit by a co-worker against my employer?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is my obligation regarding a lawsuit by a co-worker against my employer?

I witnessed someone at work have an accident and she is suing the company for not paying her medical bills that resulted. I spoke to the attorneys of the victim and the company, and gave a deposition. The company’s attorneys turned rude and manipulative and I don’t want to speak to them anymore, but today, a year after I’ve heard from anyone, I received an email from the company’s attorneys asking if this is still my email. They didn’t ask to speak to me, no information, just asked if this is still me. Do I have to respond, or can I just ignore it? What will happen if I just ignore it?

Asked on March 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) If you still work for the company, they can require you to respond (and later, to testify in court or at a deposition, and/or give written statements) or else they can fire you "for cause"--for refusing employer instructions--which would mean no unemployment benefits.
2) Apart from the threat of termination (see above), you only have to respond if subpoenaed, since you are yourself not a party to the action. But if subpoenaed, you must respond (and do what the subpoena requires) or else face punishment from the court.

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