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  1. #1
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    fired from work because of jury duty

    I was fired because I was summons to jury duty and on the one day I wasn’t needed so I didn’t go to work. My employer had asked for a letter from Jury duty, the jury commission gave me a letter stating I was summons to jury duty, made myself available and was excused and that my jury service is complete. I was never given any warning. They never asked me if I had been at Jury duty, they just called me in the office and said I was terminated for violating a company policy. And now I need to sign a document stating that I would not sue them if I would want to receive two months of Cobra coverage. I had worked for 7 years and always had a great review. I recently have my current review last month and it was very good. I fee though, that my company has been trying to get me to resign because on more than 3 occasions I was told I make a lot of money, more that other people in my department and I should be grateful. Also, I had worked at home for the past two years because I live far away and they took that away, in addition I would teach a class in the late afternoon, where I would change my work hours to go into work earlier so I could leave to teach my class. They told me I couldn’t do that anymore. In addition, they had mentioned that because I make a a lot of money I should work later or if I couldn’t do that, then I should work through my lunch hour. I was never written up or told to better my performance. They also said I wouldn’t be available to Unemployment.
  2. #2
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    well, you didn't mention your state. Protections available to you for jury duty are state specific.

    since you deleted this from the post box:

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    It's hard to claim you didn't see it.
  3. #3
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    Pennsylvania
  4. #4
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    We do need to know your state. But I see at least two legal violations in what you've posted, as well as at least one thing your employer told you that is incorrect.

    So please post back with your state so I can give you specifics on your options.
    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
  5. #5
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    I think one of these two things happened, either of which would make your termination legal.

    1. Your employer has a policy that if you are scheduled to work that day but called to maybe serve on a jury but are excused, you are required to report to work otherwise it is considered an unexcused absence.

    2. Your employer offers paid jury duty time off and you attempted to take advantage of this benefit (which would be fine, had you actually served on a jury) but that day you never served on a jury so were attempting to be paid for leave you were not entitled to.

    #1 will likely not disqualify you from unemployment. #2 probably will because it is blatantly an attempt at fraud.
  6. #6
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    it is in Pennsylvania
  7. #7
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    Also, please clarify re: COBRA.

    Are they saying if you promise not to sue they will pay your COBRA premiums for you, or are they saying that if you don't promise not to sue you won't receive COBRA at all?
  8. #8
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    plus, if you would, add a bit of a timeline.

    what time would you have worked that day had there been no jury summons? What time were you aware you would not be serving that day and had been excused?
  9. #9
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    If I do not sign the general release for, the coverage is null and void, they will not pay for the two months.
  10. #10
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    I found out in the morning
  11. #11
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    i go to work at 8am, I found out after 9
  12. #12
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Was your employer expecting you back at work that day if you were not called to serve? Had you been made aware of this?
  13. #13
    cbg
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    PA law (like most if not all other states) absolutely prohibits an employer from penalizing or firing an employee for missing work for jury duty.

    The ONLY circumstances under which an employer can withhold COBRA is if you are fired for gross misconduct. It is absolutely illegal to withhold COBRA until you sign a document promising not to sue.

    The employer does not decide if you are eligible for unemployment. That decision belongs to the state.

    I am at a loss to understand what swalsh is talking about.
    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
  14. #14
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    I believe the point is: since the OP only lost 1 hour plus the travel time from the courthouse to work, they played hooky for the remainder of the day. They were not obligated to jury duty after 9 am so there was no reason to not go to work.

    They were fired for claiming they could not work due to jury duty but the reality is that there was only a small portion of the day lost to jury duty obligations. That is simply put; lying to the employer.


    I believe swalsh's question #2 from above is also pertinent. If the OP was paid for the day, they did defraud the employer. That is grounds for termination, denying UI, and quite possibly be considered gross misconduct and justification for denying COBRA.
  15. #15
    jkmo is offline Junior Member
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    But the reason for termination is just cause, will that jeopardize my employment? and there isn't anything written from my company to report back to work except a recording from the Jury commission that day that I have been excused.

    Basically I see I don't have a case, although, I am the third person in the department to be fired.

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