Jury duty and jury service may be inconvenient, but it is part of your duty as a United States citizen. Sadly, some employers do not look kindly on jury service. There have been incidents in which employees have been fired because they simply attended jury duty or served on a jury in a legal case.
The team at our Lewisville, TX law firm would like to consider legal protections employees have when it comes to jury service. We’ll note protections from wrongful termination as well as issues with retaliation and harassment.
Can You Be Fired for Jury Duty?
Legally speaking, employers cannot fire their employees simply because they reported for jury duty or served on a jury. These are civic duties, and employers should make accommodations for jury service. Also keep in mind that if your financial situation makes it too difficult to serve on a jury and be away from your job, the court may let you go from jury service on this basis.
However, even though employers should not fire their employees for jury service, this has been known to happen. Working with an attorney in such instances is crucial for receiving compensation for lost wages and returning to your job.
Employer Threats Regarding Jury Service Should Not Be Tolerated
In addition to cases of wrongful termination, there have been instances in which employers have threatened their employees who are about to serve on a jury. This could include threats of termination or demotion, threats of lost hours after jury service, or threats of a personal nature. Any threats at the workplace should not be tolerated.
Your Jury Service Should Not Impact Your Position/Title
In addition to wrongful termination and workplace harassment, some employees may notice changes to their standing in the workplace upon returning from jury service. They may notice cut wages, a change in job title, the loss of an office, or a moved workspace. These kinds of changes are unwarranted and potentially illegal since jury service is no excuse for mistreatment by an employer.
Texas Employees Have Legal Protections Regarding Jury Duty
Like many states in America, Texas has laws in place that protect employees who serve on juries. Employees are entitled to unpaid leave during their jury service. Employees should let their employer know about jury duty and jury service, and inform their employer of their intent to return to work as well.
Penalties for Employers for Fire Employees
Texas has specific penalties for companies that fire employees for jury service if the employee was permanent. The employer may be liable for up to 5 years of employee compensation as well as covering the employee’s legal fees. In addition, the employee must be reinstated into the company.
Proving Wrongful Termination and Workplace Retaliation
Proving wrongful termination and workplace retaliation over jury service can be difficult. An employer may attempt to cite other incidents or performance issues as the reason you were let go. Be sure to keep any correspondence with supervisors at work as well as your jury summons. This documentation can be essential for your case.
How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job or have suffered any kind of retaliation or harassment, our legal team is here for you. We will fight diligently for your legal protections every step of the way, and offer expert counsel on these matters.
Our goal is to make sure that your rights are represented and that workers are protected from unjust actions made by their employers.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
For more information about your legal rights and protections at your workplace, be sure to contact the Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson. Our team is here to fight for you and bring up all of the state and federal laws that are meant to protect you at your job.