Jury Duty/ Court Appearance laws & HR compliance analysis

Jury Duty/ Court Appearance: What you need to know

Excusal from jury duty. Due to dwindling jury pools, many courts are now eliminating many automatic exemptions from jury duty. Therefore, employers should not expect that employees (even executives) will be excused, even if your company makes a request to the court that an employee’s absence would adversely impact company operations.
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However, most courts will consider a valid request from an employer to postpone jury service. However, this is only a temporary delay; eventually the employee will have to serve his or her jury duty.
Be aware that some judges are punishing jury panel "no shows" with fines and even citations for contempt of court. Employers should also consider whether employees’ loss of earnings is motivating them to skip jury duty; this is not a valid reason to avoid serving on a jury.
Job protection. The federal Jury System Improvement Act of 1978 (28 USC 1875) prohibits employers from discharging or taking any other adverse employment action (threatening to discharge, intimidating, etc.) against permanent employees because they perform jury duty in federal court. Employers that violate the Act may be sued for back pay, reinstatement, and attorneys' fees and may be fined up to $1,000.
Most states have laws that offer similar protection to employees that perform jury duty in state courts.
Nonexempt employees. The FLSA does not require employers to pay nonexempt salaried employees or hourly employees while on leave for jury service. Although not required to do so, most employers pay employees while on jury duty.
Exempt employees. Exempt employees who are absent from work for part of a workweek to perform jury service should be paid their full salaries to preserve their exemption from ...

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