When Your Employees Go To Court – Jury Duty

GavelThis post discusses the Connecticut statutes that come into play when employees must go to court during what would otherwise be a day at work.

A summons to jury duty is also a state-mandated excuse from attendance at work.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §51-247a prohibits employers from discharging, threatenting or otherwise coercing employees who receive a jury duty summons or who serve as  jurors.

A recent amendment to Section 51-247a answers the question of the obligations of an employee who is granted an early dismissal from juror duty.  The statute provides that a juror-employee who serves eight hours of jury duty cannot be required to return to work.  Since the jury summons typically requires the juror to report to court by 8:00 a.m.,  a juror dismissed during the day can be expected to report to work if the employer so directs.

But of course an employee who spends a day in court risks the loss of a day’s pay.  The State of Connecticut addresses this problem by mandating that employers pay each full-time employee’s regular wages for the first five days of jury service.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §51-247 defines a full-time employee as someone who is regularly scheduled for thirty hours or more per week, and who actually misses a work day because of jury service.

The statute also makes an employer liable for pay to an employee assigned through a temporary help agency, as long as the temporary employee has been in place for more than 90 days.  Note that the 90-day threshold applies only to the temporary employees; a regular employee receives jury duty pay even if summoned immediately after hire.  We know of one employer who misread the statute and incorrectly stated in their employee handbook that no employee would receive jury duty pay prior to completion of 90 days.