A reader sent the following story to a newspaper question and answer forum: I was recently fired by my employer, an architecture firm, immediately after serving for one month on a federal grand jury. From the moment I informed my boss… I was harassed… and told I was not putting the company first. I was told to get out of my jury service, “or else.”… I was fired exactly one week after my service ended. Was the dismissal of this at-will employee lawful? Explain.
Even though an at-will employee, is not under contract for a definite period of time, and can be fired at any time, it is wrong to discharge an employee for complying with a public duty such as jury duty. “Every individual has a legal duty to serve on a jury. In fact, an individual who fails to appear for jury duty will be found in contempt of court and is subject to fines and jail time. For public policy reasons, employers may not fire at-will employees who have been called to serve on jury duty. Otherwise, the whole judicial system would be compromised. If you are fired for serving on a jury, you may be a victim of wrongful termination.” “Federal law protects all permanent employees who serve on juries. You cannot be forced to use your vacation or sick leave to serve on a jury. If your employer fires you, threatens to fire you, intimidates or coerces you because you have been called for jury duty, report the incident immediately to the jury office.” http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/wrongful-termination-for-jury-duty.html http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/juryfaq.htm