Handling Requests for Jury Leave

Jury duty is serious business. If your employees ask for leave in order to serve on a jury, consult your state law and, if you have a policy, follow it. Here are some examples of situations that got employers into trouble.

 
Example

In each of the following cases, a federal court ruled against the employer:

  • Firing an employee the day after returning from jury duty the employer was ordered to pay damages to the discharged employee.
  • A supervisor's comments that an employee could not be at work and on jury duty at the same time, which helped prove the employer's unlawful motive in firing an employee the employer was ordered to pay damages.
  • Refusing to pay an employee on jury duty for a paid holiday because she did not work the day after the holiday, even though the employer knew she was serving on the grand jury that day the employer was ordered to pay damages.
  • Refusing to pay an employee during jury service unless the employee can prove financial hardship.
  • Changing the company policy from one in which the company pays employees during jury service to one in which the company does not while an employee was serving jury duty (because employees are entitled to notice of the change before they serve).
  • Discharging a night-shift employee for not reporting to work on the night of the day in which he served on a jury (he was entitled to 24 hours off and should have been allowed to report the next day).