While most of us understand that serving on jury duty is at least an inconvenience and at worst an actual hardship, we also know that it constitutes one of our basic civic duties. Just as the lengthy process of selecting a jury can effectively cull the fair-minded and civically responsible from the pool of potential jurors, a well-thought-out jury duty policy can set apart an employer as principled.
Many jurors seek to be excused, citing loss of pay as a financial hardship. For those who do serve, many sacrifice not only pay, but personal time as well. Certainly, employers experience a disruption when key workers are absent, and yet, many conscientious companies choose to pay their employees while they’re out for jury service.
As an employer, it’s vital to have a plan in place before the jury summons arrives. Make the written policy available to your employees, and be sure that it is always carried out consistently. If you are the employee on the receiving end of the summons, notify your employer ASAP. After all, your co-workers will need to plan ahead for your absence. Some states require that the potential juror provide proof of the summons to the employer within a day of receipt.
Know the law
While federal law pertains to federal courts, most jurors will serve in local and state courts which are covered by state law. Both employers and employees should be aware of what the law requires in their state. For example, Connecticut requires employers to pay full-time workers for the first five days of service. In Virginia, employers are not allowed to require an employee to report for work after 5pm on the same day in which he or she has appeared for jury service or before 3am on the following day. Most states protect the employee from being fired or from threats such as the loss of benefits. Pennsylvania exempts smaller companies from such restrictions, but also allows their employees to be released from serving.
There may sometimes be a mistake, but I think that the citizens of America who are sworn to uphold their duty in a jury setting are going to try to do their best to do that regardless of the consequences. Janet Reno
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“Employee Time-Off Benefits Required by Law” www.bizfilings.com, Business Filings Incorporated, 2017. Web. September 11, 2017.
“Jury Duty and an Employee’s Right to Pay” www.findlaw.com, Thomson Reuters, 2017. Web. September 11, 2017.
“Jury Duty Leave Laws” www.employmentlawhandbook.com, The Lunt Group LLC, 2017. Web. September 11, 2017.