Employee Leave for Jury Duty

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Every employee understands that it is inevitable that they will be called for jury duty by either Connecticut, or the Federal government.  However, many employees are not aware that Connecticut has enacted laws which specifically provide employees protection to attend jury duty and protect them from retaliatory conduct by their employers.  The protections of the employees are explicitly outlined under Connecticut General Statute Section 51-247a.

Under Connecticut law, an employer is prohibited from depriving an employee of his or her employment, or threaten or otherwise coerce the employee with respect to his or her employment, because the employee receives a jury summons, responds to the summons, or serves as a juror. Furthermore, Connecticut provides a limitation on the employer’s ability to require that an employee come to work following their service on a jury in the same day.  Any juror-employee who has served eight (8) hours of jury duty in any one day shall be deemed to have worked a legal day’s work and an employer may not require the juror-employee to work in excess of said eight hours.  Any employer who violates these requirements shall be guilty of criminal contempt, and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

Connecticut also provides an employee the ability to bring a lawsuit against their employer if the employee is terminated in violation of Connecticut’s jury-service statute.  If an employer discharges an employee in violation of this Section 51-247a, the employee, within ninety days of his or her discharge, may bring a civil action for recovery of wages lost as a result of the violation and for an order requiring reinstatement to their job.  Any damages recoverable shall not exceed lost wages for ten weeks. If the employee prevails, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney’s fee fixed by the court.

Furthermore, if an employer fails to compensate a juror-employee as appropriate under the law, and who has not been excused from such duty to compensate a juror-employee, the employer shall be liable to the juror-employee for damages. Connecticut law provides that the employee may commence a civil action and may be awarded three times their actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees upon a finding of willful conduct by the employer.

If you are an employee who believes that you have been unfairly treated by your employer as a result of your jury service, or if you are an employer being alleged to have treated an employee unfairly, please call the experienced employment counsel at Harlow, Adams & Friedman, P.C. today at 203-878-0661 for a free consultation.

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