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Posted on Friday, February 08, 2013

House Bill if Passed Would Affirmatively Require Employers to Pay Employees for Jury Duty

On December 6, 2012, the Virginia House of Representatives introduced HB1368, which if passed will significantly change Virginia employment law. Currently, Virginia law does not require employers to pay employees for days missed due to jury duty, although employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use vacation or sick leave for jury duty, cannot take adverse employment action against employees for jury duty absences, and cannot require shift workers to start work within certain time periods following jury duty. Additionally, the Fair Labor Standards Act currently restricts employers’ ability to reduce certain salaried employees’ pay when they are serving on a jury.

The bill would require employers to pay employees their regular compensation and excuse employees from work for days that employees serve over 3 hours of jury duty. Also, employees must give notice to their immediate supervisor and provide a copy of the jury duty summons within one working day after receiving the summons. The bill prohibits employers from discharging or discriminating against employees for jury duty if the required notice was provided. Most importantly, employees who are discharged, demoted, or suspended in violation of the law may seek reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages, benefits, attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Under current Virginia law and the proposed legislation, employers may deduct any compensation the employee receives for jury duty. The bill is currently before the House’s Commerce and Labor Committee.

Katie Lipp is an associate attorney for the Washington, DC regional business law firm Berenzweig Leonard, LLP. She can be reached at KLipp@BerenzweigLaw.com.

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