Do Employers Have to Pay for Jury Duty in California?

Jury duty may be something that most people dread, but it is an obligation many adults must participate in. Refusing to participate in jury duty without having an acceptable reason not to is illegal. Understandably, participating in jury duty can create a financial hardship for many working people. It is important to understand whether or not an employer has to pay for the time an employee takes to participate in jury duty.

Under California law, employers are not obligated to compensate employees for time spent serving on jury duty, as per the California Courts website. Nonetheless, certain employers may have jury-leave policies in place that offer payment to employees for their time spent at court.

Jury Duty Pay California

Can an Employer Keep You From Participating in Jury Duty?

It is illegal for employers to threaten or intimidate employees to keep them from participating in jury duty. While laws vary from state to state, employers in California should not engage in any of the following practices concerning jury duty:

  • Threaten to take away the health benefits of an employee who participates in jury duty.
  • Threaten to terminate an employee for participating in jury duty.
  • Threaten to dock the pay if an employee for participating in jury duty.
  • Demote an employee because they participated in jury duty.
  • Take any kind of retaliatory action against an employee for participating in jury duty.

Jury duty laws also extend to an employee who is called to serve as a witness in a trial. Every employee in the state of California is eligible for jury duty leave.

What Does California Law Say About Paying Employees Who Serve on Jury Duty?

California law does not require employers to pay employees for any lost wages due to a jury duty summons. However, employees do you have the option of using any vacation hours, paid time off, sick leave, or any other personal time to participate in their jury duty. Employers cannot legally keep an employee from using these various options.

It should be noted that employees are required to give a reasonable notice to their employer before the time they are to serve jury duty. This gives the employer time to make reasonable accommodations for the absence of the employee. This should not be a problem because courts usually send out jury duty summons well in advance of the court date.

Will an Employee Be Hurt Financially Due to Jury Duty?

Jurors in California get paid for their time when they serve, but this is only $15 per day, and this $15 only begins on the second day that they serve. This is an incredibly low amount of money and can put those living paycheck-to-paycheck in financial jeopardy. Even those not living paycheck-to-paycheck could be hurt financially if they are required to serve on a jury for longer periods of time.

What Are the Legal Options for Jury Duty Leave Violations?

If you have been discharged or in any way discriminated against by your employer against for participating in jury duty in California, you have options. Employers can face serious penalties for threatening an employee for taking time off for jury duty. Under California labor law, an employer can face a misdemeanor charge and possible criminal prosecution.

Employees could file a lawsuit against their employer or file a complaint with the California Department of Industrial Relations. If an employee chooses to file a lawsuit with the assistance of an Orange County employment lawyer, they can seek both economic and non-economic damages from their employer. This can include:

  • Lost wages due to demotion, raise denial, or termination
  • Reinstatement to the job
  • Emotional distress due to mistreatment
  • Increased stress and anxiety in the workplace
  • Loss of enjoyment of work
  • Damages true professional reputation

Find a skilled attorney who can review your case today. It is vital that you are treated fairly throughout this process.