Employees who are called or summoned to jury duty are often entitled to job-protected leave. A federal law, the Jury Systems Improvement Act, provides broad protections for employees who report for federal jury service. In most instances, however, employees are summoned to serve on juries in state or local courts. This type of leave is often governed by state laws.
Most states have laws requiring employers to provide employees with time off from work to engage in certain civic duties, such as serving on a jury. Tennessee law provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for jury service. In Tennessee, employers with five or more regular employees must grant leave to eligible employees who serve on a jury.
The following employees are entitled to take time off from work to serve on a jury:
· Permanent employees; and
· Temporary employees who have been employed for at least six months.
Amount of Leave
The employee is entitled to miss work for time that he or she serves on a jury. If the jury service exceeds three hours in one day, the employee is entitled to miss work for the entire day, even if the jury service is not during the employee’s scheduled work hours.
If an employee is working a night shift or is working during hours before court is normally held, the employer must excuse the employee from the shift immediately before the employee's first day of jury service. After the first day of service, when jury duty exceeds three hours in one day, the employer must excuse the shift-employee from any scheduled work period within 24 hours of that day of jury service.
Payment on Leave
If the jury service exceeds three hours, the employer is required to give the employee an entire day off with compensation (even if the jury service is not during the employee’s scheduled work hours).
If the jury service is less than three hours, the employer is required to compensate the employee for the actual hours of worked missed.
The employer may deduct any fee the employee received for serving as a juror from the amount owed for jury leave.
Notice to Employers
An employee must show the summons for jury duty to the employer on the next working day after the employee receives the summons.
Employers cannot fire or in any way penalize an employee for taking time off for jury duty, as long as the employee shows the summons to his or her employer the day after receiving it.