Jury duty. Under Texas law, it is illegal to discharge a permanent employee who has been called to serve on jury duty. Employees discharged in violation of this provision must be reinstated to the same position, provided the employee notifies the employer of an intent to return to work as soon as practically possible after being released from jury duty. In addition, aggrieved employees may sue their employer for damages and attorneys' fees (TX Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 122.001, Sec. 122.002et seq.).
Employers that terminate, punish, or threaten employees with termination or punishment for performing jury duty may be held in contempt of court.
Court appearance. State law prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or penalizing an employee who has been subpoenaed to appear in a civil, criminal, legislative, or administrative proceeding. (TX Labor Code Sec. 52.051).
Hearings regarding children. An employee who is the custodian or guardian of a child is required to attend court hearings regarding the child upon receipt of notice, and the employer may not discharge an employee who is required to attend such a hearing (TX Family Code Sec. 51.115, Sec. 51.116).
Employees discharged in violation of these provisions must be reinstated to the same position provided the employer's circumstances have not so changed as to make reemployment impossible or unreasonable. The employee must also notify the employer of an intent to return to work as soon as practically possible after the proceeding or hearing. In addition, violators of either of these provisions may be ordered to pay damages of up to 6 months' wages and attorneys' fees.