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Is denying someone a promotion because of time needed off to testify in court a violation of public policy?

New York, NY |

On Nov. 18 I asked my supervisor and HR about possible advancement and they said I could not be considered for a promotion because I did not know which day or days I would need to take off to testify in court as a victim/witness.I told them I called the US attorney’s office and asked to get out of testifying in court being it was being used against me and she said that could not be the reason; my testimony would take a day maybe less (I didn’t actually call the US attorney). She said “yea but you don’t know if they will call you in last minute without notice”. I was unsure if that would happen or not, but told her that it would most likely not. On Jan 12 I did just that, and then got fired for appearing intoxicated. see the additional details below.

the us attorney asked me why my testimony was used against me, I told her that I had asked them to call her (I didn’t tell her I was terminated because I did not know if they called her, or if they really could use my unknown testimony day/s against me), I told her that they said it was because I did not know when and how many days I would need off. I told her that they need to know a week in advance of when I have to appear in court, she said that I will be told ahead of time . But that never happened; they told me the evening before that I had to testify in the morning. I tried calling the case agent to ask if my former employer called the US attorney’s office, but I got voicemail each time. I did not leave a message. I don’t know what to make out of things. My former employer and the case agent both seem to be ignoring me.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. This touches upon several different areas. If you are a New York City employee, you may have certain protections based upon the nature of your "victim status" and your employer's perception that you may suffer from an addiction. Further information and details are needed to give advice.

  2. What was the nature of the case you were testifying in?

    Why weren't you honest with your employer about talking to the U.S. Attorney? Were you subpoenaed or testifying voluntarily?

    This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction.

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