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Give Time Off for Jury Duty or Risk Fines, Lawsuits

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

If an employee gets called for jury duty, is time off from work something you need to give? Many employers might wonder whether or not there are any specific jury duty laws in their state.

There probably are. And it's vital that employers familiarize themselves with the relevant statutes.

Violating state laws can result in penalties. So what do you need to know?

Most state laws require employers to give employees time off.

Most state laws mandate that employers must give employees time off to go to jury duty. If you refuse to give employees time off, you may be violating the law.

Some states require paid time off.

Paid time off is not required under federal law or under most states' statutes. However, there are a handful of states that require paid time off. Alabama is one of them. There, employers need to pay full-time employees their full salary minus any payments they receive from the court.

You usually cannot threaten, intimidate, or harass employees over jury duty.

Employers are typically forbidden from firing, disciplining, or threatening employees over jury duty under federal law. More than 35 states have similar laws with regards to jury service in the state courts.

If you violate jury duty laws, you may face jail time or fines.

In many states, violating jury duty laws will result in a misdemeanor charge. This means employers could end up facing fines or possibly even jail time for violations. Employees can sometimes also ask for attorney's fees, back pay, and reinstatement.

That's why employers should avoid violating jury duty laws. For more state-specific information about jury duty and time off, consult an experienced employment attorney.

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