Jury service rarely comes at a convenient time, but in the middle of a job search, it can be a major source of stress. If you get the summons when you know you have an interview scheduled, take steps to ensure that you don’t have a conflict. Remember that jury service is an obligation of citizenship. Even if you are excused because of scheduling conflicts, you may be called upon to serve at a later date.
Consult with the Clerk
Check with the court where your jury service is to take place. Each district system has its own rules regarding jury service, and legitimate exemptions and excuses. A job interview is not usually on the named list of excuses, but the clerk of the court will guide you on how to resolve your situation. If possible, speak with her in person before the date of your required service, and take along the letter or other documentation that proves that you have a job interview on that date. She will have dealt with many other people who have had similar conflicts and will know how much leeway your local system usually grants.
Many court systems recognize that you may not be able to serve if it would cause you undue financial hardship. If you are currently unemployed and searching for a job, finding money for transportation or other expenses to attend court may be difficult -- and may be a reason to be excuses. If you can prove that taking days out of your job search would cause substantial hardship and be a financial burden, you may be excused.
It is possible that you may be able to be excused from jury service on grounds other than your interview. Legitimate excuses from jury service include student status; caring for children or elderly dependents; or a variety of medical reasons. If any of these other circumstances apply to you, ask to be excused on these grounds.
Some districts allow you to defer your jury service for as long as 90 days for any reason. You cannot discharge your obligation, but you can put it off to a more convenient time -- such as after your job search is over. Be careful when using this privilege, however, because you can only do it once. Make sure that you will definitely be available at the time to which you postpone your service.
If the court system will not accommodate you and you cannot move the date of your service, speak to the hiring company. Jury service sometimes lasts only one or two days, so it may be possible to shift the date of your interview slightly so that you can attend and also discharge your jury duty obligations.
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