Is It Legal For An Employee To Be Fired For Serving Jury Duty?

Employees called to serve jury duty are protected from employment termination. If an individual fails to show for jury duty, he or she will be found in contempt of court and be subject to fines and jail time. If your employer fires you for serving jury duty, you may have experienced wrongful termination.

What is Jury Duty?

Juries for certain cases are assembled from randomly selected citizens. Basically, the jury tries to represent the common sense of ordinary people by giving diverse people equal say in the procedure. Every year, many Pennsylvanians represent the larger population by serving in the jury.

How Is Someone Exempt from Jury Duty?

Although each jurisdiction is able to grant or reject requests for excuses from jury duty service, the law only exempts certain individuals from this civic responsibility. Individuals in active military service, family members of criminal homicide victims including grandparents and grandchildren, and people demonstrating undue hardship are legally exempt from jury duty.

What Are The Available Protections for Employees Summoned for Jury Duty?

Pennsylvania law lays out protections for employees who are called for jury duty. Since the jury system is set upon the shoulders of civilians, who are doing their civic responsibility, the legal system obligates employers to allow employees to perform this duty. Without this obligation, the entire system would fail.

Unpaid Leave for Jury Duty

Unpaid Leave is offered to employees, who work for certain sized companies. A retail or service industry employer with 15+ employees and manufacturers with 40+ employees are obligated by law to offer unpaid leave for jury duty. An employee who cannot be eligible for unpaid leave is automatically excused from jury duty.

Illegal to Discipline Employee for Jury Duty

Moreover, it is illegal for an employer to threaten, coerce, or discipline an employee for performing jury duty. An employer cannot demote or take away employee benefits because an employee served jury duty. To discipline an employee for participating in jury duty is to face immediate legal repercussions.

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Lawsuits Dealing with Jury Duty

As a civic responsibility, jury duty is accompanied by employee protections. Employers who fire employees for performing jury duty face lawsuits for wrongful termination. The law obligates individuals to heed jury duty summons and demands that employers not mistreat employees who are on jury duty.

Judge Issues Warrant for Arrest of a Manager Who Harasses Employee Called for Jury Duty

In Texas, when Jennifer notified her boss that she had been summoned for jury duty, he reprimanded her and assigned an additional work assignment. On the day of jury duty, Jennifer arrived early to work, and when she tried to leave for jury duty, her boss fired her. The district judge heard about this situation and issued a warrant for the boss’s immediate arrest. The boss admitted to his mistake and the company offered Jennifer another job. The case settlement is undisclosed.

Wrongful Termination for Jury Duty

Jackalyn, a security guard, was wrongfully dismissed from her job when she performed jury duty for a murder trial. She served for three days, and her employer refused to pay her for the time. Jacklayn filed a lawsuit against her employer and was awarded $150,000 in damages.

If you have suffered wrongful termination because you performed jury duty, contact a lawyer who will know your legal options.
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