I told my manager on Friday that I have to call in on Tuesday to see if I'm summoned. She then responded that I need to come up with a back up plan in case I get called. Can she make me do that? More specifically, if I can't find anyone to take my shift and I get called in, does she have grounds to penalize or fire me?

For what it's worth I work in San Francisco, it's a privately owned company...not sure what other details would be helpful. Thanks!

  • Everyone gets called occasionally - have you asked your fellow employees what their experience has been? She seems to be way out of line. What do you do? What possible backup plan would make her happy? She might not know your service is not voluntary: there are a lot of uninformed (I avoided saying "stupid") people. Most companies have a policy to pay you for the lost time, but require you to hand in the pittance you get for your service. In practice, though, they will tell you to keep the check, because of the aggravation of working it into the accounting system. – stretch Feb 25 '17 at 3:08
  • Is it standard procedure for your company that when you take time off of scheduled work that the burden is on you to find a replacement? – user45269 Feb 26 '17 at 1:09
  • "...I need to come up with a back up plan in case I get called" - What is the backup plan? Does she mean making sure everything your coverage would need to know is readily available, or does she mean handling scheduling? – Wesley Long Feb 26 '17 at 20:09

According to this blog, in California employers are required to give you time off for jury duty, and forbidden from discriminating against those who take it.

It would be wise to make a good attempt to find cover for the time you are away, but if you can't then you cannot be prevented from taking time off.

The rest of the blog is also interesting, implying that non-exempt employees should be paid for short periods of jury duty.

You might want to research this further in case the blog is wrong, and consult a lawyer if it becomes important.

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I was able to find a FAQ for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California:

Can my employer fire or discipline me for not being at work due to jury service?

No. Pursuant to Title 28, U.S.C. § 1875, “No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.”

Now it would be a state or city law that would apply if the court was at that level, but the wording would be similar.

This is from a jury brochure from the state of California:

Failure to Appear

If you are qualified and you have not been excused or had your service postponed, you must report for jury service. Any person who fails to respond may be fined up to $1,500 and be subject to further penalties at the discretion of the judge. Carefully follow the instructions on the summons and contact the court if you need help.

Notify Your Employer

It is a violation of the California Labor Code to fire or harass an employee who is summoned to serve as a juror. School employees and students are protected as well by law. Your employer should be notified about your jury service as soon as you receive a summons. Please contact the court if you have a problem with your employer because of jury service

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Your boss sounds like a real ... live one (that's as best as I'm going to be able to say!)

If scheduling or supervising is not part of your regular job, then I'd say that her approach of leaning on you because of a legal, court-ordered responsibility is quite discriminatory. I'd run straight to human resources and have them intercede to set your boss straight, because she seems to be cluelessly taking HER personal issue (apparently, negative) with the jury duty and trying to turn it into yours.

Let's not overlook the fact that you may not get paid by your employer for whatever time you happen to be out. Last time I got jury duty, I think the court paid $35 dollars a day in Orange County. So, you're likely to come up short in the pocket somewhere, AND your boss is giving you crap at the same time? Like I said, run straight to HR.

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  • Personally I wouldn't bother with HR and straight up tell the trial judge about it. I'm not sure of the wisdom of this, but it will get the problem fixed. – Joshua May 27 '17 at 23:36

Apparently someone needs to do your work while you are not there. This won't happen by itself, so someone has to find someone to do this. Of course your boss can ask you to find that replacement. That would be part of your job, so when you go to work tomorrow morning you ask, during your working hours, anyone who might replace you.

However, since sorting out work schedules is probably not your job, you might not succeed. That's bad luck for your boss. Whether you find a replacement or not, you go to jury duty, and there's nothing your boss can do about it.

PS. You could look at what mhoran_psprep quoted, and whether you think telling you to find a replacement is "harassment". If the boss expects you to do it in your own time it surely is. If he complains about you not finding a replacement, when finding replacements isn't your job, that could be harassment as well. (I suppose if you worked in HR, then finding replacements for people going on jury duty could be part of your job, and it would still be part of your job if the person on jury duty happened to be yourself. )

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This has been answered on here before in a general sense, and above, but I'll make this a simple answer: It is managements duty to find coverage for workers who are out. It is never an employees requirement to find coverage. Sadly, many jobs try this. They fail.
If you quit, they have to find coverage. If you are sick, they have to find coverage.

The issue is what if you can't find any coverage? Even if it is just a day off for fun, it is management's job.

I say this as a manager and employee.

In a group of salaried people who are already overworked, it generally doesn't work. Now, in a highly cooperative environment, or one where people are desperate for additional shifts, it is easier.

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