Jury Duty

Will LAUSD pay for service?

Whether you dread jury duty or look forward to serving, when that summons comes in the mail, it helps to know what your rights and responsibilities are under the UTLA-LAUSD contract.

LAUSD recently issued a new memo (BUL-4223) that summarizes some of the regulations, which are covered in Article XII, Section 18.4, of the contract.

The basic principle is that jury service should be performed when it does not “disrupt the continuity of classroom instruction or adversely affect District operations”—in other words, employees should perform jury duty during off-track or vacation time.

All employees should know that courts have tightened requirements for being excused altogether from jury duty. It is much more difficult to be released from service for such issues as childcare or financial hardship (in fact, because LAUSD does pay for jury duty service under some circumstances, financial hardship will not excuse a teacher or health and human services professional from serving).

Here’s what to do if you receive a summons for duty during your ontrack time (including summer school and intersession):

1. Notify your immediate supervisor that you have received a summons.

2. Request a deferment from the court to either vacation or off-track time. If you are an A-basis (12-month) employee, you need to seek postponement to a date mutually agreed upon with your administrator if the summons date would affect classroom instruction or LAUSD operations. A-basis employees also need to request that the term of jury service be limited to 10 days, whenever possible. This is not a requirement, but we suggest that when requesting a deferment, you make a note of the date and time you made the request and whether you spoke with a person or an automated system.

If your deferred jury duty begins during your off-track or vacation time but then inadvertently extends into your on-track time, the District will pay you for up to 20 working days (not including buy-back days). Any jury fees you receive while on District-paid status must be submitted to the District.

3. If the court rejects your deferment request, notify your supervisor in writing. If jury duty is still required even after you have tried to postpone it, you could qualify for a paid absence.

If you do not request a postponement as outlined above, you will be granted an unpaid absence (which may affect your retirement hours).

Some local District administrators are requesting “proof” that employees have requested deferments. Courts do not issue anything that documents requests for deferment. If your administrator continues to insist on proof of deferment request, call UTLA.

* For more info: For BUL-4223, the recently issued memo on jury service, go to LAUSD website.