Can my employer deduct my pay for jury duty service ?

By , Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law

Question:

I'm an executive assistant at a large corporation and work long hours. My employer has classified me as an exempt employee, so I receive a salary but no overtime.

Recently, I was called for jury duty and spent three days at the courthouse. In the middle of selecting the jury, the parties settled, so everyone was dismissed. My company's policy is that time off for jury duty is unpaid, so it deducted three days' worth of pay from my paycheck. Is this legal?

Answer:

No, this is likely illegal because you are an exempt employee.

Under federal law, employers must allow their employees to take time off from work to serve on juries. When it comes to nonexempt employees – those who are paid by the hour and subject to overtime laws – employers do not have to pay for this time off. For example, if a nonexempt employee is absent from work for three days for jury duty, he or she is not entitled to pay for those three days.

When it comes to exempt employees, however, the rules are different. Under federal law, employers may not deduct an exempt employee's pay for jury duty leave, unless the employee does no work for the entire week. For example, if you were absent for a full week and didn't do any work from home or at the courthouse during down time, your employer would not have to pay you for that week.

In this case, you were absent for three days but returned to work for the remaining two days. Because you performed at least some work during the workweek, you must be paid your full salary for that week. In other words, it is illegal for your employer to deduct three days of pay from your check.

Your employer can, however, offset any amounts that you receive in jury fees from the state. For example, some states offer a nominal fee for jurors, usually in the range of $10 to $30 per day. If you received any jury fees, your employer can lawfully deduct this amount from your paycheck.

Get Professional Help
Talk to an Employment Rights attorney.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you