Can My Employer Fire Me For Being Away on Jury Duty?

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We answered a question about jury duty, and I thought it might be helpful for others:

Must an employer pay the salary of employee who lives in DC, and is required to serve on a jury at DC Superior Court, even if they work in Maryland or Virginia?

In regards to your question about whether Maryland or Virginia law applies to DC as it does to an the respective states, the simple answer is “no.” The reach of the MD/VA law only covers hearings that the MD/VA Court can control or enforce. Because DC is outside of Maryland’s or Virginia’s jurisdiction, it cannot control the behavior of individuals attending, or not attending jury in those jurisdictions. There is no “jury consideration” reciprocity between jurisdictions.

However, if the individual is exempt, neither MD nor VA recognize a legal payroll deduction for jury time, so payment would have to be made (subject to being offset by anything paid to the employee by the Court). Hourly employees are not required to be paid in any jurisdiction, however, neither exempt nor hourly employees can be terminated because of jury service.

If the employer terminates the employee due to jury service, said employer will run afoul of the US Federal Labor Laws. This would potentially give rise to a federal case of employment discrimination. The Department of Labor specifically forbids termination due to jury duty, and reclassifies exempt employees who are “docked” jury time as as non-exempt (this has the potential of costing the employer a considerable amount in unpaid overtime and hourly wages).

A succinct summary is here: Society of Human Resources Summary. See also: 28 USC 1875 which reads in “(a) No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee’s jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.”

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