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Working around employees’ jury duty obligations

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. What are California employers’ obligations with regard to workers who are called to serve on a jury? We often find our schedules disrupted, especially when the employee on jury duty gets stuck on a long trial.

A. California Labor Code Section 230 prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee for taking time off to serve on a jury, as long as the worker provides “reasonable notice” to the employer.

The statute provides that a worker who has been discharged in violation of this provision is entitled to reinstatement and the payment of back wages. Furthermore, an employer that willfully violates the statute may face misdemeanor charges.

California employers are not required to pay workers during their jury service. However, employers should be aware that if the worker is an exempt employee, his or her exempt status could be threatened if the employer fails to pay the worker for an absence of less than a full week.

You may want to address jury duty in your employee handbook, including when and how employees should let the company know they have been called to serve on a jury.

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