Can my ex employer retaliate against me for testifying against them?

Asked about 1 year ago - Long Island City, NY

A former colleague who is suing our ex employer for poor treatment and sexual harassment has asked if I would make a statement to the EEOC on his behalf. Is there any way my ex employer could take any action against me for this? If I choose to make a statement, do I have any further obligation to remain involved after that? Lastly, since I agreed to help over an email conversation, if I change my mind, is there any way that I could now be subpoenaed or the like and be legally forced to get involved? Thank you.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. James K. Lyder

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . I see no action that your ex-employer can take against you for helping out in your colleague's case unless, of course, you are untruthful. Yes, you can be obligated to cooperate further via subpoena; changing your mind has no effect on this.

  2. Krishnan S. Chittur

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your "ex employer" is now no better - and no worse - than any other human in this planet so far as you are concerned. Obviously, life has no guarantees, but you haven't said anything that suggests a vulnerability with respect to that ex-employer. Whether you voluntarily choose to make a statement or not is upto you. But whether you do so or not, you can be subpoenaed. And from whatever you've written thus far, if your former colleague goes to Court, it looks immensely probable that you will be subpoenaed - in other words, yes, you can be "legally forced" to provide truthful testimony. Whether you call that "getting involved" or not, that is the law.

    If you do not have a signed retainer fee agreement with Chittur & >Associates, P.C., ("the Firm"), then until... more
  3. Jayson Lutzky


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . I agree with the prior responder with an addition. You can also retain a personal attorney to represent you.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate... more
  4. Penn Ueoka Dodson

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . As a general matter, there are protections for people who choose to testify. Under Title VII (the law the EEOC enforces most commonly) there is a clause of the law called the "participation" clause of the "anti-retaliation" provision that basically says the law wants to protect people from adverse consequences for giving testimony. If, for example, you were to testify and tell things that were bad for the company and they then went out and "black balled" you in the market (gave bad references etc.) then that may be protected under the law. That being said, those cases tend not to be very straight forward. The best policy is to tell the truth, don't be vindictive or go out of your way to hurt the company for any of your own personal reasons, but to follow your conscience as far as standing up for any wrongs you may have overseen that affected your coworker.


    This is not legal advice. Consult with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

25,766 answers this week

2,761 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

25,766 answers this week

2,761 attorneys answering