Why HR Should Encourage Jury Duty

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Sep 16, 2016

You want a simple way that HR can change the world? Encourage your employees to participate in jury duty.

I’m thinking about it this week because my wife got called into jury duty. Now, it’s inconvenient. Her work is ramping up for the busy season. I need to go out of town tomorrow.

The good thing is her work is understanding. She had previously postponed because she would’ve needed to reschedule two important trips.

There are a litany of articles out there about getting out of jury service, most of which are bullshit. As I was looking for a way to bail her out, I got to thinking about the times when coworkers or friends told me about getting out of jury duty because of work obligations or because their boss put pressure on them.

That’s too bad. If I ever got in trouble with the law, I’d want people like my wife on the jury. Busy, employed people are the types of people we need to serve on juries. The people that make smart decisions at work and are invaluable are also likely to be very capable jurors.

I don’t know if there is any way to measure the possible injustice that having a less capable jury in place results in. Maybe my assumptions are off and we’re doing just fine. But I don’t think it would hurt to have more people willing and able to serve on a jury.

Regardless of the possible legal ramifications of employers dissuading jury service or the ethical questions about duty, if HR wants to make a small mark on the world, don’t be an employer that tries to steer employees clear of jury service. A great employee can be a great contributor to our justice system.

I coincidentally also got called to serve on a jury earlier this year and had it postponed until December. If called, I do plan on serving for those same reasons.