It is our civic duty to serve on juries when we are called to do so. Jury duty is when you serve on a jury, giving the defendant in court the right to a trial with an impartial jury. If you are called to the court and do not appear, you could be held in contempt.
Of course, there are times when Ohio residents are called to serve at inconvenient times. It may interfere with your work schedule, for example. But, there are protections in place for Ohio workers who receive a jury summons. If you are in a dispute with your employer, a Columbus employment attorney can help.
Taking Time Off to Serve on a Jury
It is illegal according to state law for an employer to terminate an employee for serving on a jury. This essentially means a permanent employee cannot be fired or told they might be fired for missing work when they are summoned by a state court to serve on a jury. There are federal protections in place as well.
If you receive a summons to jury duty, you need to communicate with your employer about the summons. You are not protected if you simply do not show up for work for days at a time. Employees are to give their employers reasonable notice. This gives supervisors time to rearrange their schedule or workforce as needed to accommodate your absence. Your time off of work then must be for actual service on a jury.
Unpaid Leave for Jury Duty
While off work for jury duty you will be on unpaid leave. This means your employer is not allowed to say you must use any accrued time off, including sick days, annual days off, or vacation days.
If an employer does fire you or penalize you for serving on a jury, they can subject to damages. The penalties for this charge vary. Sometimes there is a fine of up to $250, in other situations an individual can be jailed for up to 30 days. Any offense that is not a first offense could carry harsher punishments as well.
Ohio workplaces with less than 25 full-time workers are allowed a bit more leeway. For example, if one employee served on a jury within the last month, another employee does not have to serve as that could have an adverse impact on productivity. In those situations, the court may postpone your jury service.
When you have specific questions about employment law, jury duty, time off, and your rights, connect with a Columbus employment attorney.
Is your Ohio boss threatening to fire you if you serve your jury duty? Contact the employment lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.