How do I respond to a supoena for employee records?

Asked over 4 years ago - Winter Park, FL

One of my employees is going through a difficult divorce and I have received a supoena from her husband's attorney for her employee file to include her job application, pre-employment screening, pre-employment health documentation, medical records and medical test results of any kind, performance evaluations, disciplinary records, customer complaints, sick and vacation time taken and reasons for any absesnces, any benefits paid, salary, salary scale, annual benefits package to name just a few. The supoena is requesting protected information that I'm not comfortable releasing. What do I do as an employer?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Blaise E. Picchi

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . That is what subpoenaes are for, to force people to reveal uncomfortable information. The court issues the subpoena at the request of the attorney. If there is information requested that is irrelevant to the case, then the wife's attorney should make a motion for a protective order preventing you from having to release the irelevant information. But that's something the wife's attorney does. You are not a party and you have no liability if you obey a subpoena. You are required by law to comply. Furthermore, you don't have a horse in this race, meaning it is not your business which side prevails in the divorce action.

    You probably have been served a Subpoena Duces Tecum without deposition. That means that even though a deposition has been scheduled you do not have to appear if you turn over the documents before the deposition date. If you haven't, you can still make it into one by asking the attorney if supplying the docs is enough or whether he has to question you. Also, the subpoena should have been directed to "The custodian of the records" of your company. That does not necessarily mean you.

    Oh, you also get to charge the attorney for copies of the documents. The clerks charge $1 a page. If you don't have a copy machine, you can make the attorney send a copy company courier to pick up the documents, have them copied, and then return the originals.

    Obey the subpoena. If you don't the attorney will force you to. Then you will need a lawyer.

    The foregoing is offered for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been established hereby and none has been intended.

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