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State law requires that employees be excused from work when they are summoned for jury service, and employers are required to pay an employee his or her regular compensation during the time the employee is serving on a jury, as long as the employee presents a copy of the subpoena to the employer on the next working day after it is received. The employer may, but is not required to, reduce the employee’s compensation by the amount of the fee received for serving as a juror. Employees may not be discharged, demoted or suspended for taking time off for jury service when they have given the required notice. These provisions do not apply to temporary employees who have been employed less than six months, and special rules apply to night-shift employees.[1]  Federal law also prohibits the discharge of an employee for performing jury service in federal court.[2]

Employees also may be subpoenaed to testify in court. Although no state law establishes specific requirements, public policy dictates that employees be given time off in order to comply with a validly issued subpoena to appear in court. Employers are not required to compensate employees for appearing in court as a party or as a witness.

As with all other forms of leave, policies covering these areas must be set out in writing under T.C.A. § 5-23-104.

All federal and state officeholders have a limited exemption from jury duty.  The limited exemption means that the officeholder is not required to serve on the dates indicated on the summons but must designate a seven-day period when he or she will be available to serve within the next 12-month period after the date of the summons.  Upon receiving the summons, the officeholder must notify the clerk of the court issuing the summons of the seven-day period the officeholder will be available to serve.  The officeholder will be required to serve on only one jury during the seven-day period.  T.C.A. § 22-1-203.

Employees of officeholders are not exempt from jury duty.  Upon receiving a summons to report for jury duty, an employee must present the summons to the supervisor on the next day he or she works.  The employee must be excused from work for the entire day or days the employee is required to serve as a juror, except the employee can be required to return to work on days when the employee is required to serve less than three hours.  The employee is entitled to his or her usual compensation, less the amount of fee or compensation received for serving as a juror (of course, the employer may pay the employee the usual compensation without deducting the juror fee).  The employer is not required to compensate an employee for more time than was actually spent serving and traveling to and from jury duty.  These provisions do not apply to any employee who has been employed on a temporary basis less than six (6) months, and special rules apply to night-shift employees.  T.C.A. § 22-4-108.

[1]  T.C.A. § 22-4-108.

[2]  28 U.S.C. § 1875.