Under Minnesota law, “[a]n employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, or threaten or otherwise coerce the employee with respect thereto, because the employee receives a summons, responds thereto, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.” Minn. Stat. § 593.50, Subd. 1. Violations of the statute constitute criminal contempt and upon conviction, may result in a fine of up to $700 and/or a 6-month jail term.
An employee unlawfully terminated is entitled to reinstatement along with lost wages incurred for a maximum of six weeks in addition to attorneys’ fees.
Takeaway: While an employer is entitled to a copy of the summons for jury service to validate the need for the absence, the employer cannot not terminate the employee or take any action, which could be viewed as coercive or a threat to continued employment. If you do, you and your company may have a need for a jury in a subsequent civil or criminal proceeding.