By Jennifer Santillan, Whitehead Employment Law

Jury Duty: we’ve all been there before or know someone who has. But do you know your rights as to whether you’re entitled to be paid for time spent in jury duty or whether your employer can deny your time off request to attend jury duty?

I’ve Been Selected For Jury Duty. How Far In Advance Must I Tell My Employer?

According to California law, an employee must provide his/her employer with “reasonable notice” of the employee’s call to serve on a jury. Because the term “reasonable” can be construed differently by each person, it is best to tell your employer as soon as you find out you are required to attend jury duty. A good rule of thumb would be to inform your employer as soon as possible.

Is My Employer Required To Pay Me For The Time I Spend In Jury Duty?

Unfortunately, in most circumstances, your employer is not required to compensate you for your time spent in jury duty unless your employer previously agreed to pay you for this time. This is often true for employees who are part of a union. If you have a prior agreement from your employer indicating that your employer agrees to pay you for any time spent on jury duty, then you are entitled to the agreed upon amount. Otherwise, your employer is not legally obligated to compensate you for this time. Nonetheless, you are legally entitled to use any vacation pay or other paid time off that you have already accrued.

Even if your employer does not agree to pay you for this time, your employer must still allow you to take leave. One caveat, however, is that this does not apply to any work you may be scheduled for on the weekends. If you normally work on weekends, your employer may still require you to continue working your weekend shifts (as jury duty only takes place Monday-Friday).

Can My Employer Fire Me For Taking Off Work and Refusing To Miss Jury Duty?

NO. It is illegal for your employer to punish you in any way for refusing to miss jury duty. In fact, it is illegal for you not to report to jury duty without a legitimate excuse. Consequently, any employer threatening to write-up, demote, or fire an employee for missing work to attend jury duty is violating the law. Any employer who retaliates against an employee because of the employee taking off work to attend jury duty is also violating the law.

Wrongfully terminated or retaliated against for reporting to Jury Duty? Contact us today.

If you have experienced any differential treatment from your employer because you requested time off to attend jury duty, or because you refused to miss your jury duty service when asked to do so by your employer, contact us today at 949-936-4001.

More often than not, employers violating California’s law pertaining to jury duty leave are also in violation of other California laws, such as California’s wrongful termination laws and laws prohibiting retaliation. If you have any questions about California’s employment laws or if you believe your employer may be violating these laws, our office would love to be of resource to you.

Whitehead Employment Law is a premier firm with a wealth of legal talent dedicated to labor and employment law. We have settled and tried cases winning millions of dollars in awards for clients whose employers have failed to reimburse employees for work-related expenses.  Many of these types of situations are ideal for class action treatment. 

Contact us at Whitehead Employment Law today at 949-936-4001. Consultations are free and confidential.