Can I be fired for not coming to work due to jury duty if I was selected to serve?

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Can I be fired for not coming to work due to jury duty if I was selected to serve?

My job says that my time sheet says jury duty but I never served. They say that I was AWOL, falsified documents because I wrote jury duty on my timesheet. They want me to either resign in a few days or terminate me. They said I may file a grievance but if I loose I will waive the right of resigning. Should I file the grievance or proceed with wrongful termination?

Asked on May 16, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As long as you actually went to the courthouse (and didnt  just caimto go) you cannot be fired. Every citizen has a legal duty to serve on a jury. In fact, if they are called but fail to appear, they will be found in contempt of court and subject to fines and jail time. Accordingly, for public policy reasons, employers may not employees who have been called to serve on jury duty.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you were actually AT the courthouse when summoned for jury duty, then even if you ended up not being picked for a jury, you cannot be legally fired for the time spent on this civic obligation. But that is only for when you are actually at the courthouse (or traveling to/from it). If you took off time from work under the heading of "jury duty" but were not at the courthouse--e.g. you weren't actually at court for the time you claimed to be on jury duty--then you could be terminated legally for that. The protection against termination for jury duty only applies when you are actually doing your civic duty, whether that is listening to the orientation, waiting around in the courthouse to see if you will be selected, or actually serving.


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