Jury duty. Minnesota law prohibits employers from discharging, harassing, or otherwise penalizing employees who take time off to serve as jurors. Violators may be held in criminal contempt and fined, jailed, or both. A discharged employee can sue for reinstatement, back wages, attorney's fees, and damages of up to 6 weeks of wages (MN Stat. Sec. 593.50).
Court appearance. Under Minnesota law, an employer must allow a victim or witness reasonable time off from work to attend criminal proceedings when the victim or witness is subpoenaed or requested by a prosecutor to attend court for the purpose of giving testimony. Likewise, an employer must allow time off from work to a victim of a violent crime (an act of physical violence such as murder, assault, or sexual assault) as well as the victim’s spouse or immediate family members.
An employer may not discharge, discipline, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against or penalize an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee took reasonable time off from work to attend a criminal proceeding for any of the above reasons.
An employer who violates this provision may be punished for contempt of court and ordered to offer reinstatement and pay back wages (MN Stat. Sec. 611A.036).
An employee should give 48 hours' notice to the employer when he or she is going to be absent to attend a criminal proceeding for the reasons stated above, unless it is impracticable to do so, or an emergency prevents the employee from doing so. An employer may require an employee to provide verification (i.e., a copy of a subpoena) of the reason for the absence.