Your employees are of the greatest benefit when they are at the office or at the store working for you. While it is good to offer a certain amount of vacation time or sick leave so that employees do not get burnt out, there are other times when you may have to allow your workers time to leave work. These include voting in elections and serving on juries. There are various ways you should go about offering time off work, and there may even be legal reasons why you have to let an employee leave.
You should check the laws in your specific state to see if there is anything on the books for letting employees leave during the day to vote. Some states will require you to give your employees paid time off to vote if they would not have time to reach the polls before or after their shifts. Some states say that you have to give employees time off, but it does not have to be paid. Depending on where you live, your workers may need to provide you with proof that they voted should you give them time off.
Regardless of where you live, you cannot deny someone their constitutional right to vote. If you forbid an employee to leave to vote, and that individual has no time during the rest of the day to vote, then you may face a lawsuit. If your state does not require you to offer time off and you cannot afford to have all your workers leave in the middle of the day, then you should talk to your employees about absentee ballots. Mail-in votes are becoming increasingly popular in many states, and they give your workers a chance to vote without having to leave. You can talk to your employees about this option well before an election, if you want. However, in many circumstances, it is much simpler to offer a little time off.
At the most, you may lose an employee for a couple hours to go vote, which is not as significant an amount of time as when someone who works for you gets called in for jury duty. You may lose an employee for a whole day just to see if he or she will end up on a jury at all. In some cases, you may lose a worker for a week or more, depending on the severity of the trial. Again, each state is different in what they require out of employers.
Virtually all states prohibit employers from pressuring workers into intentionally getting out of jury duty. However, you should check with your state’s laws to see what is required of you during this time. A few states explicitly mandate that employers pay employees who end up on a jury. However, there are not many places like that. Most states will simply require you to give your workers time off, but it can be unpaid or partially paid.
A few other provisions to bear in mind when a worker is about to leave for jury duty is that in some states you can require the person to provide you with proof that he or she was actually summoned. Additionally, if you have people in your business who work during nights, then in some states you cannot force them to work if they were at jury duty all day.
Some companies have policies already on the books about how to deal with employees seeking time off for jury duty and voting. You should consult with any of those as well as your state and city laws to see what the best course of action to take is. If both you and your employee can be professional, then without a doubt, you two will be able to reach an amicable agreement.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.