Employee rights for jury duty

Written by ellie williams
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Employee rights for jury duty
Federal and state laws protect employees called to jury duty. (PNC/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Reporting to jury duty is a legal obligation, and failing to appear could lead to a fine or even arrest. Even so, some people may fear what will happen to their jobs if they are away from work for an extended period. That's why the federal government, and some state governments, have enacted laws that protect employee rights while they're serving jury duty.

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Employers Must Allow Employees to Take Time Off for Jury Duty

Under federal law, your employer is required to allow you to be away from work for jury duty, for as long as the court requires you to be there. They cannot prohibit employees from taking off for jury duty, and if the employee works the night shift, for example, the employer cannot require the employee to work during the day. Your employer is allowed to request proof that you served for the entire time you were away from work, however. Jury clerks can issue a certificate of attendance to give to your employer as proof that you served.

Jurors Receive Payment for Service

According to the United States Courts website, jurors receive a stipend of £26 per day from the government, which increases to up to £32 a day after the tenth day. Employees of the federal government receive their normal salary instead of the stipend. They may also receive reimbursement for mileage, and for travel costs and overnight lodging if they live far from the court.

Jurors are Not Legally Entitled to their Full Salary

Your employer is not required by federal law to pay you your regular salary while you are serving jury duty. In general, it is up to the employer to decide if or how much to pay an employee serving jury duty. Some opt to pay the difference between the government stipend and the employee's regular pay. If employers pay workers their full salary, they are entitled to request the employee turn over the stipend in exchange. However, some states may require that employers provide at least partial pay for time spent at jury duty. Some states may also allow employees to use accumulated paid leave, such as sick days or vacation time, to cover their time spent away from work.

Employees' Jobs are Protected

Workers may fear that if they spend too much time away from their job, their employer will replace them, rather than ask other employees to take over their duties. Your job is protected, and you must be allowed to return to your position after you complete jury duty. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire an employee who has been called to jury duty. According to the Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968, when jurors return to their jobs, they should be considered to have been on a leave of absence, and must be fully reinstated to their positions without loss of security.

Employers Cannot Threaten or Intimidate Employees

Losing an employee to jury duty can strain a company, and workers may worry about their employers' reaction to learning they will be away. However, the Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968 forbids employers from discriminating against employees called to jury duty. To prevent employers from pressuring employees into trying to get out of serving, employers are also legally prohibited from trying to intimidate or discourage employees from serving on a jury. Further, an employer who violates any part of the Jury Act may have to reimburse the employee for lost wages and may be subject to a penalty of up to £3,250 for each violation.

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