Can You Be Fired for Jury Duty: Understanding Employment Rights

Facing jury duty and worried about your job? Waltman Employment Law explains your rights and protections against wrongful termination during jury service.

rs badge min
el product min
bl b min

In the midst of our busy lives, getting a jury summons can be worrying, especially about keeping our job. Is it true that serving on a jury could make us lose our job? Being on a jury is both a privilege and a duty, but it can also affect our work life.

Are you really at risk of losing your job because of jury duty? Laws at the federal and state levels protect employees from being fired for serving on a jury. However, there could still be other issues or challenges at work. These laws can be complicated and may lead to disagreements at work.

At Waltman Employment Law, we understand employment law, and it can be as tough as a jury case. We’re here to explain these laws and make sure people know their rights when they’re called for jury duty. Our team is experienced in handling work problems related to jury duty, aiming to make the process clearer and balance civic duty with job security.

What is Jury Duty?

Why do we receive summons to court, not as defendants or plaintiffs, but as jurors? Jury duty is our civic duty, a cornerstone of the judicial system where we, as citizens, are called upon to serve on a jury. It’s a unique chance to be part of the legal process, weigh evidence, and determine the facts of a case.

The concept of jury duty is steeped in history, dating back to ancient times to ensure trial fairness. We continue this tradition today, ensuring that our peers have the opportunity for a fair trial. Through our participation, we uphold the values of democracy and justice.

Is it mandatory? Indeed, attending jury service is not optional. When we are called, we must appear, or face potential penalties. These consequences underscore the importance of our role in upholding the laws of our land.

Our engagement in jury duty reflects our investment in a system of justice that relies heavily on the integrity and judgment of ordinary people. As we reflect on the purpose and practice of jury duty, we realize that our participation is both a right and a responsibility, integral to the legal framework that protects our society’s values.

Legal Protections for Employees

Responding to a jury summons holds not just civic importance, but also workplace protection. Serving on a jury is not just a right, but a duty that is safeguarded by an intricate web of laws.

Firstly, the Jury System Improvement Act is a key piece of legislation that sets the baseline for employee rights during jury service. It ensures that no employee “shall be discharged, threatened to be discharged, intimidated, or coerced by his permanent employer because of his jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.” 

Federal protections include:

  • Job security: Your position must be held for you upon completion of jury service.
  • Prohibition of retaliation: Any form of employer retaliation is strictly illegal.

In addition to federal laws, each state has its own regulations regarding jury duty. Employees may benefit from:

  • Leave of absence:
    • Unpaid leave is typically provided for the duration of jury service.
    • Some states have specific requirements for employers to provide paid leave.

Implications for Employers:

  • Violating these laws can result in significant consequences for employers, such as penalties and fines.
  • Employers must not only provide time off but also ensure job security for employees fulfilling jury duty.

Compensation for employees during jury duty varies. In California, jurors are compensated $15 every day from the second day of service, with the exclusion of some public employees, and travel reimbursements are provided.

Our understanding of these protections helps us to appreciate the balance between upholding justice and maintaining livelihood. The legislation serves as a shield, ensuring individuals can execute their civic responsibilities without fear of losing their employment or suffering undue hardship.

Can You Be Fired for Jury Duty?

Is jury duty a valid reason to lose your job? Certainly not. In the United States, employees are granted protection under federal and state laws to take a leave of absence for jury service. This ensures that performing one’s civic duty doesn’t come at the cost of their employment. But what happens when this right is challenged?

Imagine spending a day at court, fulfilling a public service, only to return to an unexpected termination notice. Demanding as it may seem, jury duty can’t legally be the sole cause of losing your job. While most employment in the U.S. is “at-will,” meaning an employer can fire an employee for any reason that isn’t illegal, dismissing someone solely for attending jury duty crosses the line into wrongful termination.

What to Do If You’re Fired for Attending Jury Duty

Employees must recognize the difference between at-will employment and wrongful termination. If you suspect that you’ve been fired illegally for serving on a jury, it’s crucial to document and report the incident promptly. Gathering evidence of your jury summons and subsequent termination is the first step in establishing your claim.

Reaching out to an employment lawyer can further clarify your situation and rights. A legal professional can guide you on proceeding with a potential claim, including the possibility of filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. An attorney well-versed in employment law is invaluable, offering advice and representing you to protect your legal rights.

Fulfilling jury duty is a civic obligation and is protected by law. It’s our right—and in our capacity—to resist unlawful job termination and uphold the integrity of our employment rights.

How Waltman Employment Law Can Help You

If you’ve ever felt the uncertainty and anxiety of fulfilling your civic duty, only to face potential repercussions at work, contact us at Waltman Employment Law. We are here to navigate these turbulent waters with you. Jury duty is an obligation that can collide with your professional life, but this collision should not result in wrongful termination.

We know the various protections that exist to safeguard employees against such wrongful terminations. Our dedication to our clients lies in clarifying these protections and asserting your rights.

Our Services Include:

  • Analysis of Your Case: Understanding the specifics and identifying if laws were violated.
  • Guidance on Legal Protections: Discussing the state and federal laws that protect jurors from workplace retaliation.
  • Representation: Providing aggressive advocacy both inside and outside the courtroom.

Contact Waltman Employment Law today for further guidance. While fulfilling one’s civic duties is paramount, so is the protection of your employment rights. We stand ready to assist in ensuring that the scales of justice balance both your civic responsibilities and your career stability.