Can a company require its employee to provide proof of jury duty?
Yes, the short answer is that in some states, employers may require employees to provide proof that their local court summoned them to jury duty, an important civic duty!
This can be helpful if your employee lets you know he is going to be at jury duty for a week and you want to verify he is not lying and, instead, basking in the Bahamas.
The way that you can figure out if your state allows you to request proof of jury duty from your employee is by checking
• state law
• local ordinances
• relevant federal law
to make sure you are treating your employee in accordance with the law when they are summoned to jury duty.
To find your state law, perform an internet search for your state’s administrative regulation on an employer being able to request proof of jury duty from the employee.
For example, let’s say we wanted to find out if an employer could request proof of jury duty from an employee living in the city of Ross in Marin County, California.
California’s Labor Code Section 230(a) states an employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee for taking time off to serve as a juror. The employee, prior to taking such time off, must give reasonable notice to the employer of the requirement to serve as a juror.
The Superior County Court of Marin in California defines reasonable notice as notifying an employer upon receiving the jury summons.
Another thing to keep in mind is that even if there is no state law or local ordinance on being able to ask for proof of an employee’s jury duty, Federal law, 28 U.S. Code § 1875 provides authority on protection of jurors’ employment by aiming to protect employees who have been summoned to jury duty from being discharged, threatened of being discharged, intimidated by their employer. If the employer fails to comply with this law, the employer can be subject to paying damages to the employee, paying civic penalties, and other headaches!
In summary, relevant federal, state and local laws provide guidance on whether you can ask for your employee to provide proof of jury duty.
If the law does not allow you to request proof of jury duty from your employee and you are nervous he is on an extensive island vacation, then holding a planning discussion with the employee upon his return to the office about your expectations of him in the future, including paid time off and time spent working in and outside of the office, could be beneficial for your working relationship with the employee.