Do I have to grant leave for employees who have been summoned or subpoenaed?

Q. A few of my employees have been summoned to appear in court for jury duty service and to act as witnesses in trials. Is there any way that I can prohibit them from serving? And if I can’t, am I required to pay them during their service?

A. You cannot prohibit or prevent your employees from complying with their jury or witness duties. Also, any employee who complies with a jury or witness summons is protected against discrimination, discharge or other adverse actions taken by the employer. So, you cannot punish an employee for taking time out of the workweek to attend jury duty.

Nevertheless, you are not required to pay your em­­ploy­­ees for their time spent in jury duty. In addition, because such duty does not count as time worked under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, it cannot be counted toward overtime.

Salaried exempt employees must be paid for their time in jury or witness service, however, and some special rules and obligations apply in these cases.

You also may require your employees to use vacation or other paid leave time for jury duty leave, as long as your company’s policies do not expressly prohibit this practice.