In Illinois, as in most other states, potential jurors are selected at random by names found on the lists of registered voters and those who hold an Illinois driver's license or identification card. If you receive a summons requiring you to report to jury duty, you are legally obligated to report on the date and time indicated on the summons. Failure to report may subject you contempt of court charges. While your employer is not legally required to pay you for time you spend on jury duty, the county is required to pay you for your time and some expenses.
Jury Duty Basics
When a court has a civil or criminal case scheduled for a jury trial, the court will notify the court administrator of the need for potential jurors. The court administrator will then send out jury summonses to members of a jury pool requiring them to report on the day of the trial. Each juror will then be questioned by the attorneys representing the parties as well as by the judge. Eventually, a jury will be selected. If you are chosen to be part of the jury, you are obligated to report each day until the trial is over and a verdict has been reached.
Under Illinois law, your employer is not legally obligated to pay you for time you spend on jury duty; however, many companies voluntarily pay employees for jury duty. Also, you cannot be fired either for fulfilling your legal obligation. If you work the night shift, your employer cannot require you to report to work if you reported to jury duty that day. In order for your job to be protected, you must notify your employer when you receive the summons for jury duty.
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Although your employer is not required to pay you for your time spent on jury duty, the county is required to provide you with compensation. The rate of compensation will vary by county, but is usually minimal. You are also entitled to compensation for reasonable travel expenses as well as any actual costs for day care that you incur as a result of your summons for jury duty.
Jury duty can impose a serious hardship on some individuals. If you cannot fulfill your obligation for a good, and verifiable, reason, contact the court as soon as you receive your summons. If, for example, you are the only caretaker for a small child or disabled adult, the court may release you from your obligation. Exceptions are considered on an individual basis; however, you must notify the court immediately or risk being found in contempt of court for not reporting.