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When jury duty calls, can I be punished for missing work?

There are two types of people in the world: those who get a little thrill at the idea of serving on a jury and those who roll their eyes and shiver at the thought. Whichever camp you are in, if you have a job, everyone probably has the same initial concern: "What about my job? Can I miss work for this?"

Whether you want to serve on a jury and miss work or not, if you are called to serve you must serve. That is a citizen's duty, just as it is an employer's duty to allow their workers to put in jury duty without firing them. It is against the law for an employer to terminate an employee who has been selected to serve jury duty in New York.

New York labor laws specifically outline what is expected of an employer and employee in the case of required jury duty

Employee: You must give your company notice that you will be serving on a jury. This allows your employer to make any possible and necessary arrangements to try to mitigate the effect of your absence while you are gone. Failing to communicate with your employer about this scheduled responsibility can be punishable, so don't just assume that jury duty is an excuse to slip out of work without your employer's knowledge. 

Employer: An employer is legally within its rights to withhold pay from a worker serving jury duty if the business has fewer than 10 employees. Those with companies that employ 10 or more workers must pay at least $40 per day for three days of the jury duty. 

To put it plainly, you should not lose your job because you were called to serve on a jury. Even though possible lowered earnings might feel like punishment enough, if you feel as though your employer is penalizing you in any other way because of your civic responsibility, you might have cause to talk to an employment lawyer who could explain your rights to you. Most of us honestly already do not like when our busy schedules are complicated by a jury summons. Your employer should not make the situation worse than it is. 

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