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Can I refuse to appear on a subpoena for an unemployment hearing to which I do not want to be involved in?

Snellville, GA |

I was employed at an attorneys office. Just recently they "let" a co-worker go. Their reason for letting her go was unjust. She fought for enemployment and started receiving it. The office in which we worked at is now fighting it. I was asked to write a letter against the lady who was terminated for the office. I informed the office in my wishes to not be involved. After that the work enviorment became unsuitable for myself to continue employment and I left the company. Now I have just received a subpoena to testify against her by the employer. I received it on Saturaday and the hearing is the upcoming Tuesday. Do I have to apprear or is there a way I don't have to be involved? The hearing is in another city in which I don't have to means to travel as well.

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Attorney answers 3


If it is a Court case, a properly issued and served subpoena has the authority of the Court. It is essentially a Court order requiring you to appear. Failing to comply with a subpoena can lead to sanctions, that may include a fine or worse. In some cases, the Judge will send deputies or marshalls to pick up a witness. You won't likely have lawyers here telling you that you can ignore the subpoena merely because you don't want to go. That said, we don't have a copy to review or know if it was properly served. You can either pay a lawyer to review it (and you still might have to go) or just show up and get it over with. Many cases settle anyway. To clarify one point of your post. If you testify, it is to testify honestly as you will be under oath. While you can probably assume that your employer believes your testimony will help their case (or they would not call you), you should not testify "against" the other person unless it is the truth. One possible way to get out of going is call the lawyer to discuss why they are calling you as a witness. If you can't help the case you may be released.


In theory, you can get into trouble for failure to comply with a legally issued and properly served subpoena. I suggest that you have the subpoena and the way it was served reviewed by an attorney to determine if the subpoena was properly issued and served.

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Mr. Riddle has given you a very good answer. If you truly do not have the means of getting to the hearing, you are entitled to compensation as a witness, contact the party who subpoenaed you and see if they are willing to assist you. If they really need you, they should be willing to help you get there.

The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP EMAIL:, OFFICES: 53 W. Candler St., Winder, Ga. 30680, 106 Washington Street, Jefferson, Ga. 30549, Or 718 Oak St. Gainesville, Georgia. PHONE: (770) 307-4899 or (770) 538-0555 serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation