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Jury Duty Montana

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  • Jury Duty Montana

    Best I can tell, labor laws regarding jury duty are different in Montana than most states; and I need a specific issue addressed.

    I was sent a letter regarding being "on call" for local (county/city, not federal) jury duty for an entire year last October. As I work in retail with a very busy, make-or-break Q4, I asked if it were possible to be excused for December and January. That was granted.

    The way jury duty works here is: you are sent a letter stating the date and time you need to report for jury duty. So, one must make all arrangements to be OFF WORK that day. But, then you call a hotline number at 5 pm the day before jury duty to find out if you actually must report.

    Twice I have gone through all the machinations in preparation for jury dury (telling boss, getting everyone's schedule rearranged, rearrange appointments with customers, etc.); and twice I've called the night before, only to hear a recording that the trial is cancelled. Unfortunately, all the machinations done can't be un-done. My boss is angry because more expensive workers are called in to replace me for the day, and remaining staff were rearranged because of that, and some cancelled customer appointments are never rescheduled, resulting in lost business...and in the end, I'm back in the jury pool.

    So, now a third notice came. For a two-day trial. My boss asked me (and I gladly complied) to please complete the "request to be released from jury duty." This required me to visit a notary and bring to the county clerk. The clerk told me that such requests are rarely granted, and I should expect to serve on the assigned dates.

    Failure to show means trouble with the law. My boss says he is unwilling to support these ongoing business disruptions for another 5 months, and that I risk losing my job.

    Two questions:
    (1) - I've served on jury duty elsewhere. Is this legal that I can be "held hostage" for 12 months, and not be relieved until I actually serve on a jury (although that is beyond my control)? Can't the fact that I've been "at the ready" twice mean I've done my duty?
    (2) - This has DEFINITELY caused a hardship for me, my customers, and my boss. Would it be illegal for my boss (only 2.5 staff members total, BTW) to fire me for ongoing jury duty stuff, or just distasteful in the eyes of some? If it's illegal, please let me know the source of the applicable law or statute, if possible. I can't seem to find anything.

    Thanks in advance,
    Last edited by cbg; 05-20-2010, 01:27 PM.

  • #2
    First...I'drecommend removing your personal information from the post. You're opening yourself up to spammers.

    In regards to being "held hostage" - I believe the answer is yes (minus the hostage part). It's called civic duty.
    Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

    I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.