Employee called to jury duty refuses to go

What should employer do if employee refuses to answer call to jury duty, if anything?
By Brian Kenny
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/27/2011

Question: If an employee is called to jury duty but doesn’t want to go, does the employer have to do anything to ensure there isn’t any liability on its part and make it clear it’s the employee’s choice not to go?

Answer: Courts across Canada recognize jury service as a public duty owed by each citizen. Each province has its own legislation regarding jury duty and most are quite similar. Ordinarily, a person must be resident in the province or territory in which she is summoned, must be a Canadian citizen, and must have reached the age of majority in order to be qualified to serve as a juror. In each province and territory there are persons excluded from jury service — some common examples are lawyers, justices of the peace, and persons unable to understand the language in which the trial is to be conducted. For employers, this requires an awareness of the law surrounding employees being summoned and called to jury duty.

Juror summons are sent to randomly selected names of qualified persons, who are required to respond within a reasonable time of the summons being received. Persons who have been summoned to serve as a juror and wish to seek relief from jury service can normally apply for relief from jury service before the opening of the court for which the person is summoned they may be excused under certain circumstances. Otherwise, persons required at court for jury duty are usually required to attend until discharged by the presiding judge. Of those summoned for jury duty, only some persons are randomly selected and called to serve on the jury, and only these persons are sworn in for service.