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Employment Discrimination Blog

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Can Your Employer Fire You for Serving on Jury Duty?

Despite being considered a civic duty, few people are pleased to receive notification that they must serve on jury duty. The last thing you want to imagine is that doing so could cost you your job. That’s why under Georgia law it is illegal to fire an employee over his or her absence from work due to jury duty.

GA Statute Prohibits Termination for Jury Duty

Under state law O.C.G.A. § 34-1-3, “it shall be unlawful for any employer … to discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize an employee because the employee is absent from his or her employment for the purpose of attending a judicial proceeding in response to a subpoena, summons for jury duty, or other court order or process ….”

Also according to the statute, “It shall be unlawful for any employer or the agent of such employer to threaten to take or communicate an intention of taking any action declared to be unlawful by this subsection.” In other words, not only is your employer prohibited from firing you for serving on jury duty, but also prohibited from threatening to fire you for the same.

You May be Entitled to Damages

So what does this mean if your employer does in fact threaten to terminate you or actually terminated you from your job for participating in jury duty? Luckily, if this is the case, you may be entitled to damages. Under the statute an employer who violates the law is liable to the employee for all actual damages that he or she suffered as a result as well as reasonable attorney’s fees spent on the claim.

Exceptions

You’ve Been Charged with a Crime

However, it’s important to note that if an employee is charged with a crime and must therefore miss work in order to attend court and answer for the charges, they are not protected from termination under the law. Your employer can, in fact, terminate you for missing work to attend court for your own criminal charges.

You Fail to Adhere to Company’s Required Notice Policy

Additionally, you can be legally terminated for failing to adhere to your employer’s pre-existing notice policy. If your employer has a policy that requires you to provide notice when missing work, you can be fired for failing to give such notice. Therefore if you receive a jury summons or subpoena, you should always notify your employer right away.

The GA Employment Law Attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC Can Help

If you or a loved one believes that you have been wrongfully terminated, disciplined, or discriminated against because you served on jury duty, you may not know what to do or even how to proceed. However, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Georgia employment attorney.

Fortunately, the attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC understand the importance of such cases and are here to help walk you through the process. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!


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The attorneys of Pankey & Horlock, LLC serve the entire state of Georgia, including Atlanta, Alpharetta, Auburn, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Stone Mountain, Dekalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Cobb County, GA.



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