Thursday, September 18, 2014

Information for Employers

For our jury system to work, it is essential that the courts and employers work in partnership to ensure that all Sacramento County residents are available to serve jury duty when summoned. Without cooperation from the local business community, we risk losing a fundamental principle upon which we, private and corporate citizens alike, depend. Cooperation from employers is essential to maintaining a strong jury system. The importance of your participation cannot be emphasized enough.

We wish to extend our deepest appreciation to public and private employers in the Sacramento community for supporting our jury system.

Employee Protection

As the employer, you must allow an employee time off to serve on a jury. The California Labor Code, section 230 - external link outlaws any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned to court for jury service. The California Education Code section 44037 - external link and Education Code section 87036 - external link protect teachers and students as well. Employers can also be prosecuted criminally and face a misdemeanor charge if found guilty.

Length of Service

The Sacramento Superior Court operates on a One Day / One Trial system.

In order to minimize the number of jurors who must appear in person and avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the juror, the standby service process is used. The prospective juror may begin to check for reporting instructions anytime after 4:00 p.m. the Friday before their service week. Their initial reporting instructions may be to report the following court day at 8:00 a.m. or may be to check back later that day or later in the week. The prospective juror is required to check the reporting instructions for a maximum of five (5) days or until instructed that service is complete without having to report.

If the prospective juror is instructed to report to the courthouse, he/she may or may not be selected to serve as a juror in a trial court. The Jury Commissioner is required to have a sufficient number of jurors for all anticipated trials. The jury staff tries to carefully estimate the number of jurors needed but there are many variables outside their control.

If the prospective juror is selected to serve on a trial as a sworn juror, the term of service will be the length of that trial. Trials vary in length, but generally last one to two weeks.

If the prospective juror is not selected to serve on a trial by the end of his/her first day at the courthouse, and the judge has not ordered them to return for another day of jury selection, their jury service is complete.

Prospective jurors are required to report to work until their group is called in.

Pay Policy

State Law does not currently require employers to continue paying the salary of employees while they are serving as jurors. However, many employers including state and local government agencies, have a policy which compensates employees for at least part, if not all the time spent for jury service.

If employers do pay, they have the right to require employees to remit to them the fees received for jury service. Prospective jurors are paid the amount mandated by the State Legislature, $15.00 per day and $0.34 per mile, one way for the second day of service and every day thereafter. There is no pay for the first day of service. Service is defined as physically reporting to the courthouse. Days spent on standby service do not count as payment days.

A juror who is employed by a state, or local government entity or by any other public entity as defined in Government Code Section 481.200, and who receives regular compensation and benefits while performing jury service, may not be paid jury fees. If the juror is employed by a state or local government agency, they are instructed to fill out a Government Waiver Form that will stop the jury payment. Once this form is filled out, they are instructed to return one slip to the jury staff and keep the pink carbon copy for their employer. The legislation did not affect payments for mileage. Jurors will still be paid $0.34 per mile unless that fee is waived.

Government employees are described in Government Code Section 481.200 as: "Public entity" including the state, the Regents of the University of California, a county, a city, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public corporation in the state.

Proof of Attendance

Prospective jurors that are asked to report to the courthouse are given a daily attendance slip on their first day of service only. This attendance slip is stamped with the date and signed by the Jury Commissioner. If a prospective juror is asked to report for two days or more, a Juror History Report may be provided at the juror's request. The Juror History Report is printed on the court's letterhead with the Jury Commissioner's signature and lists each day of the juror's service. Jury attendance slips/Juror History Reports will not be given to jurors daily, but will be provided to the juror at the end of their service or when it is needed for payroll purposes, whichever occurs first. It is the responsibility of each juror to request appropriate documentation for his/her employer.