A deposition for a wrongful termination case may be one of the most valuable pieces of evidence that a lawyer can collect. Each deposition consists of question-and-answer dialogue between the legal team and a witness or victim involved in the case. A court reporting service typically records the conversation through transcription or through a video recording, and this evidence may be referenced or analyzed in further legal proceedings.
A skilled court reporting company San Francisco trusts, or a court reporter that is able to provide state-of-the-art recording technology, could substantially improve the value of the deposition and the claim as a whole. Accurate transcripts and/or clear visual recordings may help any legal team or industry professional determine the validity of a civil lawsuit claim.
In a wrongful termination case, the questions (and answers) recorded in a deposition may be absolutely essential for a legal team to investigate and prove their client’s side. Every case will inherently be unique and will likely require different questions, but here’s a quick look at some of the most important questions that may arise in a wrongful termination deposition:
- Does the defendant (the company or former supervisor) have an employee handbook that clearly outlines policies for termination?
- Did the plaintiff (the former employee) have access to this handbook, or was he/she knowledgeable of these termination policies?
One common issue in wrongful termination cases is that the company’s employment and termination policies are unclear. Without clearly defined policies regarding the types of behaviors and/or situations that may justify termination, the employer could have a weak case.
- Did the defendant (the supervisor) ever give the plaintiff (the former employee) any warning about a problem in their work performance?
Poor work performance is often used as the primary reason for termination of an employee. The employer should be able to prove that they gave the employee a reasonable chance at correcting poor work performance, if applicable. Other questions related to this question may include: When (or how often) did these warnings occur? Was anyone else present at the time of a warning?
- Did other employees face similar warnings — or be terminated — for exhibiting the same behavior that resulted in the punishment of the plaintiff?
If it’s clear that one employee was singled out and terminated for poor work performance, particularly when other employees were not treated the same way, the employer may be facing a very strong claim.
- Did the plaintiff and his/her supervisor have a relationship outside of the workplace?
This may be another important point in a wrongful termination case. Even if an employee and a supervisor had a social relationship outside of their professional relationship, the employee cannot be terminated for reasons outside of their professional work performance.
The Importance of Strong Deposition Questions
It can be crucial for a lawyer to take the time during deposition to explore all possible avenues in order to build a case that is more likely to win a settlement for the plaintiff if their rights have been abused. This type of protection for employees is one of the foundations of our legal system, and every employee has the right to this protection under the law.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Capital Reporting Company for their insight into depositions.