We all know that serving time on a jury can be a pain. Imagine if your boss fired you for doing your civic duty? That is exactly what allegedly happened to Ms. Jackalyn P. Strachan in Miami. Her story serves to remind us about employee jury duty and rights of employment.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Ms. Strachan was wrongfully dismissed from her job as a security guard when she served time on a jury for a murder trial. How long was her jury service? She served on the jury for three days. Adding insult to injury, her employer refused to pay her for the time she served. As a result, she sued her employer and the jury awarded her $150,000 in damages.
The Sun Sentinel quotes Ms. Strachan's attorney as saying, "The irony is amazing. I think the jury in our case understood jury service is a fundamental part of what makes our system work. They wanted to send a message that you can't punish people for doing their duty."
What Are Your Rights for Employee Jury Duty?
Most states consider the right to serve on a jury amongst the rights of employment, and prohibit employers from disciplining employees or firing them for serving time on a jury.
The Jury System Improvements Act is a federal law that prohibits an employer from disciplining or discharging an employee because he or she has been called to serve on a federal jury. Additionally, more than thirty-five states prohibit employers from firing a worker who is called to perform jury service in the state court system.
Does Your Employer Have to Pay You For Jury Duty?
No. Current laws in most states do not require your employer to pay you for time spent during jury duty.
- Taking Time Off for Voting and Jury Duty (Findlaw)
- Time off Work for Jury Duty, Even if You're Kobe Bryant (Findlaw's Common Law)
- Missing Jury Duty: What Happens? (Findlaw's Blotter)