Must My Business In New York Give Employees Either Paid Or Unpaid Time Off For Jury Duty Or To Testify In Court?

Must My Business In New York Give Employees Either Paid Or Unpaid Time Off For Jury Duty Or To Testify In Court?

In New York State, employers must give workers time off from work to serve as jurors.  Under specified circumstances, employers in New York must pay certain wages to employees serving as jurors.  Further, employers in New York must give unpaid time off to employees who are subpoenaed to testify in criminal cases or who exercise their legal rights as crime victims.

Jury Service

In New York State, an employer must allow employees time off from work to serve as jurors. An employer who discharges or penalizes an employee for serving as a juror may be punished for criminal contempt of court.  N.Y. Judiciary Law § 519; see N.Y. Judiciary Law § 750.

Employers with more than 10 employees are required to pay, to employees serving as jurors, either the jury fee amount of $40 or the employee's wage, whichever is lower, for the first three days of jury service.  N.Y. Judiciary Law § 519; see N.Y. Judiciary Law § 521.

Time Off for Victims or Witnesses in a Criminal Proceeding

In New York, employers are prohibited from discharging or penalizing an employee for being absent from work either because he or she is exercising his or her legal rights as a crime victim or because he or she has been subpoenaed to attend a criminal proceeding as a witness, provided that the employee notifies the employer of his or her intent to exercise such rights or to attend such a proceeding.  N.Y. Penal Law § 215.14.  An employer may, however, withhold the employee's wages during the period of his or her absence.  N.Y. Penal Law § 215.14.

The legal rights which a crime victim may exercise, without being subject to discipline or penalty from his or her employer, include the right to make a victim impact statement at a criminal defendant's sentencing hearing, the right to participate in the preparation of a victim impact statement contained in a pre-sentencing report with respect to a criminal defendant, and the right to make a victim's statement before the state board of parole.  N.Y. Penal Law § 215.14; N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 380.50, 390.30, 610.10; N.Y. Exec. Law § 259-i (2).  A crime victim's rights are also conferred on the next of kin of a deceased victim, individuals acting as the representative of a victim, good samaritans, and individuals pursuing an application for or enforcement of an order of protection under the New York Criminal Procedure Law or the New York Family Court Act.  N.Y. Penal Law § 215.14; see N.Y. Exec. Law § 621(6), 621(7).

If your company needs assistance or guidance on a labor or employment law issue and your company is located in the New York City area, call Attorney David S. Rich at (212) 209-3972.

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