Deposition Tips for Employers in Employment and Wrongful Termination Cases
- The goal of your testimony at your deposition is to only answer the questions asked; not to prove anything to the deposing attorney or try to win your case at the deposition.
- Understand the law that applies to your case. This will help you avoid giving bad answers that undermine your position in the case.
- Avoid coming across a angry, nervous or irritated at your deposition. If you do, the employee's attorney will notice that and will try to capitalize on that by assuming that they can simply emotionally wear you out into settling for more than you should be paying. Treat your deposition as part of business, however annoyed you are with the case and the claims made against you and your business.
- If you do not understand a question, as the deposing attorney to repeate or rephrase.
- Don't criticize the claimant unnecessarily. If there was evidence that the employee was a terrible worker prior to his termination or resignation, there is no reason to exaggerate performance issues.
- Don't refer to any documents that you haven't produced in your answers to questions, i.e. don't answer with "I have to look in my documents to see if I can find...". If you think you have additional informaition responsive to a question, discuss it with your attorney during a break.
- Review your discovery responses and the documents produced in the case before your deposition, so that you are ready to comment on your answers or on the documents, if necessary.
- Acknowldge any mistakes that you might have made in your relationship with the employee who filed this lawsuit against you. For instance, if you already know that the employee was not correctly classified as a contractor or was not paid all wages due on time, it's ok to acknowledge it and it's much better than continuing to deny it, as the latter will make you look bad in front of the jury, if the case goes to trial .
- For PMQ deposition - designate as many employee who are most knowledgeable about the categories listed in the notice of deposition as necessary to avoid a situation where your witnesses respond with "I don't know" to question critical to the case.