Can You Get Fired for Jury Duty?

Federal and state laws prevent employees from being fired or experiencing severe penalties at work for fulfilling jury duty.

The Jury System Improvement Act

Employers are not allowed to fire or intimidate employees who serve on a jury under the Jury System Improvement Act, a federal law. Employers who break the law may face fines and other consequences.

State Jury Duty Protection Statutes

Aside from federal safeguards, many states have their own laws that prevent employees from being fired for serving on a jury. Some states even compel employers to compensate employees for a specific number of days served.

Protection Exceptions

While most employees are not fired for serving on a jury, there are certain exceptions.

Seasonal or temporary employees

Depending on the jurisdiction, temporary or seasonal workers may not be protected under federal or state laws. This personnel should check their state’s laws to verify their jury duty rights.

Independent Contractors/Contractors who work on their own

Because they are not considered employees, independent contractors are not protected from jury duty under federal or state laws.

Small Business Employees

Small business employees may not be shielded from termination for state jury duty service in some states. Check the laws in your state to see if you are covered.

Employer Retaliation

Both federal and state laws make retaliation against an employee for serving on a jury illegal.

Retaliation Examples

Retaliation can take various forms, including termination, demotion, reduced hours, harassment, or creating a hostile work environment. Employers are forbidden from retaliating against employees who fulfill their jury duty requirements.

What to Do if You Experience Retaliation

If you believe you have been subjected to retaliation as a result of serving on a jury, you should pursue the following steps:

Record the retaliation: Keep documentation of any conversation, actions, or changes in your employment status that are linked to your jury duty.

Consult your state’s labor department for information on your rights and how to file a complaint.

Complain to the appropriate federal or state agency: If necessary, file a complaint with the appropriate federal or state agency.

Speak with an attorney: An employment law attorney can advise you on your rights and guide you through the legal process.

Juggling Work and Jury Service

While you are not fired for serving on a jury, it is critical that you efficiently combine your work and jury duty responsibilities.

Communicating with Your Boss

As soon as you receive a jury summons, notify your employer. Give them your service dates and work together to plan for your absence. Any changes to your jury duty schedule should be communicated to your employer.

Requesting a Postponement

If serving on a jury will cause you or your employer undue hardship, you can request a postponement. Follow the instructions on your jury summons to do so, or contact your local court for more information. Keep in mind that granting a delay is at the court’s discretion, and you may still be forced to serve at a later date.


In most cases, you cannot be fired for carrying out your civic duty as a juror. Employees are shielded from termination or retaliation for serving on a jury by federal and state laws. However, there are some exceptions, so understanding your rights and communicating effectively with your employer is critical in balancing your work and jury duty commitments.

ALSO SEE: Can I Volunteer for Jury Duty?


  • Can my employer withhold my pay while I serve on jury duty?

Most states do not compel employers to pay employees while they serve on a jury, thus your compensation may be affected. Some states require employers to pay a portion of your usual earnings during jury service, so check your state’s laws for precise requirements.

  • Can I be forced to utilize vacation days or PTO for jury duty?

Jury duty laws vary by state, but employers cannot ask you to utilize vacation or PTO.

  • How long do I have to serve on a jury?

The length of jury service varies according to the complexity of the trial and the needs of the court. Some trials last only a few days, while others may take weeks or months.

  • What if I have a valid cause for refusing to serve on a jury?

If you have a genuine cause not to serve, such as a physical condition, financial difficulty, or other extenuating circumstances, you can obtain an exemption from jury duty. Follow the directions on your jury summons or contact your local court for more information.

  • What if my employer threatens me with termination if I serve on a jury?

Threatening to dismiss an employee for serving on a jury is illegal. If this happens, make a written record of the threat and speak with an attorney or your state’s labor department to learn about your rights and potential remedies.

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