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While all Michigan employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius are subject to the federal FMLA, they must also grant time off as a reasonable accommodation under the state’s Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA).

While the ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, the PWDCRA applies to all Michigan employers.

Jury and witness leave

Michigan has one of the toughest jury-duty leave laws in the country. Employers that punish, threaten or fire employees called for jury service face misdemeanor charges, plus possible contempt-of-court citations.

But the law entitles employers to prior notice of the need for leave, although it’s silent on how early an employee must inform you of a jury summons. So, it’s a good idea to include jury and witness leave in your company policies to clarify when and how employees should give notice.

While you needn’t pay employees for jury leave, you can’t force them to use their annual, vacation or sick leave while serving on a jury.

If an employee must attend court as a victim or victim representative, you may not interfere with his or her need for leave. The law defines a victim representative as:

  • A guardian or custodian of a child of a deceased victim if the child is under age 18.
  • A parent, guardian or custodian of a victim of an assault if the victim is under age 18.
  • A person duly appointed to act in place of a crime victim during that victim’s period of disability.

Any attempt to prevent a victim representative from appearing in court is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.  

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Excerpted from Michigan’s 10 Most Critical Employment Laws, a special bonus report available to subscribers of HR Specialist: Michigan Employment Law.

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