The right to trial by jury is guaranteed in the US Constitution. Employers have a duty to honor that guarantee.
- Article III, Sec. 2. “The trial of all crimes shall be by jury and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes have been committed.”
- The Sixth Amendment. “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state where the said crimes shall have been committed.”
- The Seventh Amendment. “In all suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined by a court of the United States.”
Most states also have laws that prohibit employers from terminating an employee’s job or disciplining the employee if they serve on a jury. For most employees, the key issue is not whether the employee can take time off from work to serve on a jury – provided the employee gives the employer timely notice that the federal government or California has called the employee for jury duty.
The key issue is whether the worker is entitled to be paid while they are serving on a jury or spending time at the courthouse waiting to be selected for jury duty. Jurors are usually paid a small amount (about $10 to 60 each day) by the federal or state government to serve on a jury. Generally, employers are not required to pay for the time you lose from work – unless there is a written agreement or a collective bargaining agreement that requires paid leave to serve on a jury.
Some states provide that employees can use accrued paid leave for the days they are complying with their jury duty requirements. Employees may be eligible by the state or the employer to work a different shift while on jury duty so they can earn a paycheck.
California’s jury duty law
California Labor Code § § 230 provides:
“An employer shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee for taking time off to serve as required by law on an inquest jury or trial jury, if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that the employee is required to serve.”
California does not specifically require that your employer pay you while you serve on a jury or spend your time at the courthouse waiting for a jury duty assignment. Generally, in California, employees can use vacation days, personal leave, or comp time so they can earn their pay while meeting their jury duty obligations.
What are your rights if your employer fires you or adversely affects your employment – because you complied with a jury duty notice?
If your California employer discharges you or adversely affects your employment status because you complied with a jury duty notice, contact our employment lawyers immediately. We’ll demand that you be reinstated, that any adverse consequences be removed, and that you be financially compensated for any harm – including compensation for lost pay and lost benefits. In addition, we will demand that your employer pay any fines and penalties that may apply.
In California, an employer can also be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to comply with their duty to safeguard the right of an employee to comply with a jury duty notice or subpoena.
Adverse consequences include threatening to do any of the following or doing any of the following:
- Firing you if you comply with your jury duty notice
- Not paying you while you meet your jury duty obligation
- Denying your health benefits for jury duty participation
- Demoting you if you meet your jury duty requirements
- Retaliating in any way
Federal laws don’t specifically require that you be compensated by your employer for the time you serve on a jury.
Normally, employees will receive sufficient notice of a jury duty obligation to alert their employer. Employees should provide the jury duty summons (or a comparable document) if the employer requests confirmation of your jury duty requirement.
We’ll also seek compensation for any damage to your reputation by the employer and your emotional suffering due to the employer’s conduct in response to your jury duty obligations.
If your employer failed to honor your duty to meet your jury duty obligations, call the Miracle Mile Law Group now. You can reach us at (888) 244-0706 or contact us to schedule a FREE consultation.