Can an employer deny you the right to have time off of work for a court date?

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Can an employer deny you the right to have time off of work for a court date?

A friend of mine has a court date, and she requested the days off in advance. She

was denied the time off, and she was told that if she called in that she would be

penalized accordingly. Is this legal?

Asked on August 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your employer cannot refuse to give you time off from work for a court date if you have been served with a subpoena, since a subpoena is an order to appear in court at a set time, date and location. Failure to obey a served subpoena can subject a person to a contempt of court order which can result in jail time and/or fines. Also, an employee must be given time off if they are called for jury duty. However, absent the above, an employer can typically refuse to give an employee time off for a court appearance. Since most employment is at will, a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This is true absent an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement to the contrary. Also, some form of legally actionable discrimination must be a factor in the employer's decision to deny an employee such time off. If an employee feels the need to attend court, then they can go against their employer's directive but risk termination.


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