Can an employer deny time off for court?

I have a subpoena to appear in court. I did let my employer know when and what

time I had to be there. My employer told me that time off is denied because

there are no paid time off slots available that day. Is that legal?

Asked on March 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends. Most states will protect an employee from being fired for jury service. And many also have protection if you are issued a subpoena to testify in a criminal case. However, you may have no protection from being fired because you go to court as party to a civil case or as a defendant in a criminal case. That's because your time off from work for something like this is considered to be a part of your personal life; therefore it is not viewed any differently than if you wanted time off to see your child's baseball game, deal with a car repair, etc. The fact is that in "at will" employment, a company can set the conditions of the work relationship must as it sees fit. This includes not giving an employee time off for most court appearances.

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