non participation in other employee's lawsuit

I am negotiating a severance package. I was the HR director and have intense knowledge ofr all employment activities. In the severance agreement there is text that states I can not participate in anyone ELSE's lawsuits against the company. Can that be legal? I understnad me personally agreeing to not sue in order to recieve the severance package. But how can they keep me from testifying for someone else if they have a lawsuit?

1 answer  |  asked Apr 15, 2007 7:53 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Employer cannot prevent you from testifying

Your instincts are correct. An agreement that precludes you from testifying as a witness in another case would not be enforced by the courts, because it would usurp the court's subpoena power. An employee who wants your testimony as a witness is entitled to call you. The company's attempt to enforce the agreement would be considered interference with the judicial process.
You should be aware that, as a human resource director, you are the company's representative in any case in which you might be called regarding another employee's claims. This means that the company can preclude the other party's attorney from communicating directly with you regarding the matter. You can expect the company's attorney to try to maintain strict control over your participation in the case. But you are clearly a material witness if you were involved in someone else's employment dispute.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Apr 16, 2007 1:49 PM [EST]

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