Jury Duty

You Asked.BlogOur general counsel was called to serve one year of grand jury service. I would like to determine how we should support him in this effort, but start with our basic legal obligation.   

Whenever employer obligations around jury duty arise, we must first know what court the employee will be serving on. In this case, the member indicated the employee would serve as a grand juror for the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, a federal district court.

Your basic obligations are found in 28 U.S.C. § 1875 – Protection of jurors’ employment.  A few highlights:

  • Employers may not discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee regarding jury service.
  • After jury service, an employee is entitled to reinstatement as though having been on a furlough or leave of absence. There is no loss of seniority, and participation in insurance and other benefits is dictated by the employer’s rules and practices regarding employees on furlough.
  • If an employer violates an employee’s jury duty rights, the employee may be able to recoup attorney’s fees in an action against the employer, or even have the court appoint counsel to represent him or her.

More information can be found at the United States Courts’ web page, including this useful FAQ. Note that the federal courts pay jurors $40 per day, and in most cases, reasonable transportation and parking fees, as well. Federal government employees receive their regular pay in lieu of this fee.

States have their own laws regarding juror service on state courts. For example, in Utah, employers may not coerce or deprive employees of employment because of jury duty and may not force employees to use leave time for jury service. However, employers are not required to provide paid leave if the employee is not otherwise entitled to it. Arizona’s law is substantially similar. In Colorado, for service on a county or state district court, employers must pay employees $50 per day for the first three days, after which the State of Colorado pays $50 per day.

Send your questions to cgraves@msec.org. Please tell us if you would prefer your identity not be mentioned in our answer.