Jury service is considered an important civic duty that is a key element in the pursuit of justice, whether it be in a criminal or civil case or in state or federal court. Eligible citizens in the local area will be summoned to serve by the court where the trial is being conducted. However, not everyone summoned will be selected to actually serve on the jury.
What If I Am Summoned for Jury Duty, But Have to Work?
For Alabama citizens, certain provisions of the Alabama Code address how jury duty impacts employment and vice versa. The Code states that once an employee receives a summons to report for jury duty, on the next day the employee goes into work, he/she must show the summons to the immediate supervisor. The employee will then be excused from employment for the day(s) required to serve as a juror. The employer cannot require or request that the employee use annual, vacation, unpaid leave, or sick leave to cover his/her jury duty.
What Are My Workplace Rights If I Am Serving Jury Duty?
Any full-time employee summoned for jury duty shall be entitled to his/her usual compensation. Additionally, no employer may subject any employee to an adverse employment action, such as termination or demotion, solely because he/she serves on any jury empaneled under any state or federal statute. However, this is contingent upon the employee reporting for work on his/her next regularly scheduled hour after being dismissed from any jury.
If an employee is subjected to an adverse employment action because he/she served on a jury, then he/she shall have a cause of action against the employer and may be able to recover actual and punitive damages.
Are There Exceptions?
Despite the foregoing, a court also has the ability, among others, to automatically postpone and reschedule the service of a summoned juror who is an employee of an employer with five (5) or less employees, or their equivalent, if another employee of that employer has also been summoned to appear during the same period. This postponement, if utilized, does not impact an individual’s right to one (1) automatic postponement.
Were Your Employment Rights Violated While on Jury Duty?
If you feel your rights have been violated or if you have any other questions regarding your employment rights, please contact the experienced Birmingham employment law attorneys at Michel | King.
You can contact us either online or by calling us at (205) 319-9724. We are here to serve you.