Tips for Depositions during an Employment Discrimination Case
Employment Discrimination Attorney Alena Shautsova
Depositions is an examination under oath of case participant before he/she testifies in court. Depositions is a discovery tools allowing parties to clarify the claims and defenses.
It is important to remember that the testimony about to be given is given under oath, and as such is subject to statutes of perjury. Usually these penalties are not enforced, however it is not unheard of depending on the severity of the perjury. Throughout your testimony, the opposing counsel will ask questions to tear apart your employment discrimination case. The main issues that arise are about the timeline and details of the events that took place , the reporting of the discrimination to a supervisor or designated appropriate channels, prior and subsequent employment history.
First, tell the truth. If you cannot remember something, state so. When discussing the timeline of events, the questions presented can be confusing, do not be afraid to ask the opposing counsel to rephrase or repeat the question. While inconsistencies during normal conversation can be forgiven, the transcript of your testimony is not forgiving. Take your time when answering the questions, the transcript will not reflect the time taken to answer the question.
With respect to the questions regarding moral character, as always, it is best to answer truthfully. If you have an attorney, the attorney should carefully watch out for your rights to make sure the opposing counsel does not try to get privileged information. The “favorite” questions are usually those about criminal records, bad deeds, etc. Some questions have no bearing on your case at all, but the questioning party hopes to discovery something useful. Do not panic, just focus.
Perhaps, the most difficult task to cope with while answering the questions is to focus. One has to focus on the question asked and give the answer to that question, and stay on track. It is best to prepare for the depositions with an attorney who will be accompanying you to the depositions. Remember one more thing: an attorney cannot testify for you.