Jury and Court Duty

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State law requires that employees be excused from work when they are summoned for jury service.  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 (3) hours.  The employee is entitled to his or her usual compensation, less the amount of fee or compensation received for serving as a juror (or the employer may choose to 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. § 22-4-106.

Employees may not be discharged, demoted or suspended for taking time off for jury service when they have given the required notice. T.C.A. § 22-4-106.  Federal law also prohibits the discharge of an employee for performing jury service in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1875.

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.