My Current State: 

JSIA Washington

Posted by Diane

Employees across the state of Washington should be able to take time off of work to serve on a jury if they have been summoned to do so. The employer is prohibited from discriminating against the employee for the jury duty service under the Jury Systems Improvement Act, which is a federal Act that applies to employers and employees in all states across the country.

Employees are able to take time off under JSIA to serve out the entire term of a jury duty period, regardless of how long the trial takes. However, the employee should notify the employer of the upcoming jury duty service prior to taking time off of work to serve. That way, the employer can make accommodations for the employee’s absence.

Employers should not discriminate against the employee for taking time away from work to serve. Also, employers should not terminate employees for their jury duty service. Similarly, employers cannot coerce or attempt to coerce employees to forgo jury duty service in order to work.

However, employees may be able to postpone jury duty service for their own reasons, as long as those reasons are personal reasons that are not related to the employer. For example, employees may be able to postpone jury duty service if they have a planned vacation coming up during the jury duty period.

Employers may be fined up to $1,000 per employee, per instance, if they discriminate against an employee for taking time off to serve on a jury. Also, if an employer terminates an employee for reasons that are directly related to the jury duty service, the employer could have to pay for lost wages and benefits to the employee.

Employers need to continue to provide employees with benefits during the time that the employee serves on the jury, as long as the employer provided the employee with benefits in the first place. Health insurance may be an example of a benefit that should be provided to employees.

Also, employers need provide employees with the same job or an equivalent job when they complete the jury duty period. The employee should also be able to return to work to have the same salary and benefits that the employee had prior to taking time off of work to serve. CB

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