Being called to jury duty is both a privilege of our justice system and a burden, especially for people who have to take time off work to serve. Depending on the nature of the case and the luck of the draw, jury duty can take anywhere from a day or two to several months, or longer. Nevada law provides certain protections for employees who must take time off work for jury duty, and places important restrictions on how an employer can deal with disruptions caused by the employee being away from the job.
An employee’s obligations when called to jury duty
In Nevada, a person who receives a jury summons cannot simply ignore it. A potential juror who fails to show up on the required date can be held in contempt of court, be subjected to fines, and may have a warrant issued for their arrest.
If jury duty presents a serious problem, a postponement can be requested from the court. The form of jury summons provides information about how to request a postponement. A person who wishes to postpone his or her service must get permission from the court before the appearance date. Postponements are available for reasons like illness, death or illness of a family member, undue hardship, caregiving (such as taking care of an infant), or public necessity.
Bear in mind that job obligations typically aren’t enough to justify a postponement. Instead, Nevada law protects working people from adverse job consequences as a result of serving as jurors. To receive these protections, an employee who is called to jury duty must give his or her employer notice at least three days before the first appearance date. Failing to give notice can negate the employer’s obligation to accommodate the employee’s time off.
Nevada employers are prohibited from discharging or threatening to discharge an employee because of the employee’s service as a prospective or actual juror. If an employer fires an employee for attending jury duty the employer has committed a gross misdemeanor punishable by jail time and up to $2,000 in fines, and the employee can sue for double lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, attorneys fees, and punitive damages of up to $50,000. NRS 6.190 et seq.
Nevada law is designed to protect shift workers from being given unreasonable alternative schedules as a consequence of jury duty. When an employee is summoned to jury duty, an employer cannot require the employee to work within 8 hours before the employee is due to appear. If the employee attends jury duty for 4 or more hours, including commute time to and from the court, an employer cannot require the employee to work between 5 p.m. on the day of the appearance and 3 a.m. the following day.
Unlike some states, Nevada does not require employers to continue to pay an employee during jury duty. Although some employers opt to continue paying employees, many do not.
As proud members of Nevada’s legal community, we are happy to do our part to make sure that employers and workers are complying with their jury duty obligations. If you would like to speak to an attorney about how jury duty rules affect you or your business, call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a message through our website.