State:

National
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.
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.
Please see the state Jury Duty/Court Appearance section.
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 federal overtime laws and regulations of the FLSA (29 CFR 541.118). However, the FLSA does not require payment when the exempt employee is absent for 1 or more full weeks during which no work is performed.
An employer may deduct any jury duty fees that the employee receives from the court from the employee’s salary (29 CFR 541.602).
When jurors are paid. A handful of state laws require employers to pay employees while on jury duty, and federal courts pay jurors a small fee. Many employers pay only the difference between the jury duty pay and the employee's basic wage or salary. When paying the difference, it may be easiest to continue employees' regular paychecks and have them endorse their jury duty checks over to the company.
Please see the state Jury Duty/Court Appearance section.
Appearing as a witness, defendant, in court is compulsory and can be enforced by subpoena and arrest, if necessary. Official committees and boards of federal and state agencies often have the same power as the courts to subpoena individuals. A number of states prohibit employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee who must appear in court, but federal law does not address the issue. In addition, a growing number of states offer the same protections to any employee who is the victim of a crime, the immediate family member of a crime victim, or someone who attends juvenile court as a legal parent or guardian of a youth.
Pay for time off. The FLSA requirements for paying an employee who must appear as a witness or a defendant are the same as for jury duty service. An exempt employee who works any part of the week must be paid his or her full salary, but the employer can offset any amounts received by an employee as witness fees for a particular week against the salary due for that week. There are no pay requirements for nonexempt employees or hourly workers.
Occasionally, a sheriff, constable, or police officer will appear at your premises to serve a subpoena or other court paper to an employee. These types of officials have no more right to come onto your property than any other citizen, which means you can tell the official to leave and refuse access to the employee. However, this is not necessarily good practice and is not what most employers do.
A best practice is to let the official meet with the employee in a private room, since letting the official serve court papers in full view of coworkers would embarrass the employee and be disruptive. If the employee refuses to meet with the official, the employer has no obligation to compel the employee to do so. Instead, the employer may choose to explain that the employee is refusing to cooperate. Generally, employers are not required to grant the official access to the work area.
Most employers believe that an employee has a civic responsibility to serve when called as a juror or witness. The policy on leave of absence and pay for jury or witness duty should be in writing and be communicated to employees in the employee handbook and on the company intranet. When developing your policy, consider the following points:
Legal compliance. Ensure that your policy meets the minimum requirements of federal and any applicable state laws. If you do business in several states with differing rights for leave for jury or witness duty, you may want to maintain a consistent policy in all of your facilities by following the law with the most generous provisions for the employees.
Notification. Determine and communicate whom employees should contact when they receive notice to report for jury or witness duty and when. You can instruct employees to present a copy of the subpoena, court order, or jury notice.
Documentation. Courts will usually provide employees with documentation for their employers of days/hours served.
Compensation. The most common practice is to pay employees the difference between their regular pay and any compensation they receive from the court system. Also, decide whether you want to place a limit on how long the employee will be paid--for example, 2 weeks per calendar year--and whether different groups of employees--hourly, salaried, probationary--will be compensated in the same manner.
Early release. If you voluntarily continue to pay an employee on jury or witness duty, it may be reasonable to require an employee to report back to work if released by the court before 12 noon, depending on the distance of the court from work. If you have employees on a second shift, decide under what circumstances you expect an employee who is released early to report. Some states have specific rules regarding this situation.
Deferrals. Determine the criteria for your company to request that an employee be deferred or excused from witness or jury duty due to disruption of operations and who must approve these requests. Be aware that courts may refuse the request.
Reviewed October 2015.
Related Topics:
National
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.
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.
Please see the state Jury Duty/Court Appearance section.
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 federal overtime laws and regulations of the FLSA (29 CFR 541.118). However, the FLSA does not require payment when the exempt employee is absent for 1 or more full weeks during which no work is performed.
An employer may deduct any jury duty fees that the employee receives from the court from the employee’s salary (29 CFR 541.602).
When jurors are paid. A handful of state laws require employers to pay employees while on jury duty, and federal courts pay jurors a small fee. Many employers pay only the difference between the jury duty pay and the employee's basic wage or salary. When paying the difference, it may be easiest to continue employees' regular paychecks and have them endorse their jury duty checks over to the company.
Please see the state Jury Duty/Court Appearance section.
Appearing as a witness, defendant, in court is compulsory and can be enforced by subpoena and arrest, if necessary. Official committees and boards of federal and state agencies often have the same power as the courts to subpoena individuals. A number of states prohibit employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee who must appear in court, but federal law does not address the issue. In addition, a growing number of states offer the same protections to any employee who is the victim of a crime, the immediate family member of a crime victim, or someone who attends juvenile court as a legal parent or guardian of a youth.
Pay for time off. The FLSA requirements for paying an employee who must appear as a witness or a defendant are the same as for jury duty service. An exempt employee who works any part of the week must be paid his or her full salary, but the employer can offset any amounts received by an employee as witness fees for a particular week against the salary due for that week. There are no pay requirements for nonexempt employees or hourly workers.
Occasionally, a sheriff, constable, or police officer will appear at your premises to serve a subpoena or other court paper to an employee. These types of officials have no more right to come onto your property than any other citizen, which means you can tell the official to leave and refuse access to the employee. However, this is not necessarily good practice and is not what most employers do.
A best practice is to let the official meet with the employee in a private room, since letting the official serve court papers in full view of coworkers would embarrass the employee and be disruptive. If the employee refuses to meet with the official, the employer has no obligation to compel the employee to do so. Instead, the employer may choose to explain that the employee is refusing to cooperate. Generally, employers are not required to grant the official access to the work area.
Most employers believe that an employee has a civic responsibility to serve when called as a juror or witness. The policy on leave of absence and pay for jury or witness duty should be in writing and be communicated to employees in the employee handbook and on the company intranet. When developing your policy, consider the following points:
Legal compliance. Ensure that your policy meets the minimum requirements of federal and any applicable state laws. If you do business in several states with differing rights for leave for jury or witness duty, you may want to maintain a consistent policy in all of your facilities by following the law with the most generous provisions for the employees.
Notification. Determine and communicate whom employees should contact when they receive notice to report for jury or witness duty and when. You can instruct employees to present a copy of the subpoena, court order, or jury notice.
Documentation. Courts will usually provide employees with documentation for their employers of days/hours served.
Compensation. The most common practice is to pay employees the difference between their regular pay and any compensation they receive from the court system. Also, decide whether you want to place a limit on how long the employee will be paid--for example, 2 weeks per calendar year--and whether different groups of employees--hourly, salaried, probationary--will be compensated in the same manner.
Early release. If you voluntarily continue to pay an employee on jury or witness duty, it may be reasonable to require an employee to report back to work if released by the court before 12 noon, depending on the distance of the court from work. If you have employees on a second shift, decide under what circumstances you expect an employee who is released early to report. Some states have specific rules regarding this situation.
Deferrals. Determine the criteria for your company to request that an employee be deferred or excused from witness or jury duty due to disruption of operations and who must approve these requests. Be aware that courts may refuse the request.
Reviewed October 2015.
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