If you want to succeed on a legal claim against your employer, then you need to know the law, be armed with strong evidence, and present persuasive legal arguments that support your position. It can be a massive endeavor, but it’s one that you need to competently undertake if you want to have your voice be heard, find accountability, and recover compensation for the harm that has been dealt to you. While we have previously discussed on the blog some ways that you can build your claim, this week we want to look at a legal device that is common in all legal cases but that may be especially imperative in your employment law case: the deposition.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is the process whereby a witness gives sworn testimony outside of court at some time prior to trial. Although these sessions can feel rather informal, they are actual quite formal. This is because testimony that is given in a deposition can be used at trial, particularly if a witness’s testimony changes at trial.
Who is in charge of a deposition?
Generally speaking, the party who sets up the deposition and subpoenas the witness will take the lead during the deposition. The attorney for that party will be armed with questions and will ask some tough questions of the witness. The witness will likely have to answer all questions that are asked of him or her, even if there’s a valid objection. This doesn’t mean that the answer to the question will be admissible at trial. After all, the rules of evidence are more strictly enforced at trial, but it can still leave a witness in a precarious position.
Why do you need depositions?
There are many benefits to taking depositions, but there are two key takeaways. The first is that a deposition allows you to learn what a witness knows. A supervisor, for example, may know more about how your complaint was handled and investigated than you do. A deposition allows you to learn that information and follow up as needed.
The second key takeaway from a deposition is the fact that you walk out with a witness’s testimony locked in. This means that you can better prepare for that witness’s testimony at trial, and you likely won’t be taken by surprise by his or her testimony. If a witness does stray from his or her depositional testimony, then you can use that deposition testimony can point out that the witness’s story has changed and that he or she can’t be trusted as a truthful individual.
How do you prepare for a deposition?
If you’re going to be deposing witnesses, then you should make sure that you have as much information as possible going in. This may mean gathering documents from your employer or speaking to other witnesses. It may mean reviewing your own employment records and soundly thinking through the issues that you want to address. In other words, you want to be as thorough as possible.
Do you need assistance with your case?
There’s a lot that goes into a competent employment law case. You need to not only know the law, but also how to build compelling and persuasive legal arguments that support your position. If you’d like to learn more about how to do so, including confidently engaging in the discovery process, including depositions, then now may be the time to reach out to a legal team that you can trust.