Pennsylvania Jury Duty/ Court Appearance laws & HR compliance analysis

Pennsylvania Jury Duty/ Court Appearance: What you need to know

Jury duty. An employer may not discharge, penalize (through loss of seniority or benefits), or threaten an employee who is called to serve as a juror.
The law does not cover retail or service industry employers with fewer than 15 employees or employers in the manufacturing industry with fewer than 40 employees. An employee who works for an employer that is not covered by the law may ask the court to excuse him or her from jury duty.
If an employer that is covered by the law violates these provisions, the employee may sue for reinstatement, back pay and benefits, damages, and attorneys' fees (PA Stat. Tit. 42 Sec. 4563).
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Court appearance. An employer may not discharge, penalize (through loss of seniority or benefits), or threaten to discharge or penalize an employee who must attend court as a witness to, or as a victim of, a crime or who is a member of such a victim's family and takes leave to be a witness.
An employer that violates this provision may be sued for reinstatement, lost wages and benefits, damages, and attorneys' fees (PA Stat. Tit. 18 Sec. 4957).
Private employers. State law does not require private employers to pay employees for absences caused by jury duty or court appearances.
Best practices. Regardless of state law requirements, most employers do pay all employees called to jury duty or court appearances.
The prevailing attitude among employers is that an employee summoned to serve on a jury or to testify has a civic obligation and that it is the company's responsibility to support the fulfillment of that obligation. This is achieved by protecting the employee from loss of income and by making the necessary arrangements to cover for him or her during the required absence.
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