Your Employee Was Summoned for Jury Duty—Now What?

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The U. S. government and the state of Hawaii require employers to excuse employees to fulfill their service when summoned as a juror. Still, employers often have questions when one of their staff receives a jury summons: Am I required to pay an employee who is serving jury duty? What hours will the employee be serving? What if the employee gets placed on a trial that lasts a few weeks, or longer?

Take a look below for answers to some of these frequently asked questions and what you should keep in mind the next time one of your employees is called to jury duty.

  1. Employers cannot terminate an employee because of jury duty. Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 612-25 prohibits employers from terminating employees because of jury duty. Any employee terminated because of jury duty may bring an action against the employer to recover lost wages and to be reinstated.
  2. Employers are not required to pay nonexempt employees while they are on jury duty—most of the time. Jury duty is an essential component of our judicial system and an important civic obligation. As a benefit, some employers pay normal wages for a certain period of time to employees who are called to jury duty, regardless of exempt or nonexempt status. While there are no Hawaii or federal laws that require employers to pay nonexempt employees while serving jury duty, employers should be mindful of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements regarding deductions from exempt employees’ salaried earnings. It should also be noted that union employees may have specific provisions related to jury duty in their collective bargaining agreement.
  3. Employers can request confirmation of the jury duty. When an employee reports for jury duty, employers have the right to request a valid statement of jury service or witness duty. This document is issued to the employee by the court.
  4. Jury duty hours may vary. The hours an employee will serve may vary, depending on the trial. Generally, Hawaii District Court hours of operation are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except State holidays. If you would like to know the locations and addresses for all of the district courts you can click here.
  5. A staffing company like ALTRES can provide a temporary replacement. Since the duration of a trial is generally not known in advance, be prepared to consider different options to make up for the loss of manpower and productivity. One solution is to reshuffle the responsibilities of remaining employees for coverage. However, if yours is a smaller company, where reassigning roles would be difficult, or the jury duty comes during a very busy season, consider reaching out to a staffing specialist like ALTRES to fulfill your temporary needs.

It’s a good idea to have a policy in place in advance so that you are prepared if an employee is summoned for jury duty. Make sure your company policy is clearly communicated to avoid any confusion.