A local juror received an upsetting email while sitting through a major trial. It brought him word that he’d lost his job.
Scott Franco said, “I sat on jury duty for 15 days," but a day into the major felony trial the carpenter, who says he worked eight years for the same company, got a layoff notice from his boss
He said, “It’s hard to put it out of your mind and be attentive to the case but I did. I was able to take notes and pay attention and keep that aside."
Franco's boss claimed a lack of remodeling work but the Clerk of the District Court John Friend says, “It just seemed like it was deliberate."
The company owner was ticketed.
While the employer faces a misdemeanor that only carries up to a $500 fine, the ticket sends a serious message that employees called to jury duty can't be penalized by their bosses.
The Clerk of the District Court says the law also protects the trial defendant, “and it's a prospective juror’s job to give them that fair day in court and not have to be distracted by the loss of income or loss of a job as result of their civic duty."
After reporting his layoff, Franco told the court he could concentrate on the case.
Franco said, “I'm not going to lie to get out of it. I'm not going to say I'm prejudice to get out of it just to save a couple of bucks for him. I was going to do my duty and do it all the way through."
Now Franco says he'll go from jury box to witness stand if called to testify against his employer.
Fact Finders talked to the contractor. He called the allegation crazy. He claims the layoff was bad timing due to slow business and said it had nothing to do with the employee's jury duty. He also said he'll fight the citation.