2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Walls
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 13-5-35, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE A CIVIL CAUSE OF ACTION FOR TERMINATING EMPLOYMENT BECAUSE OF JURY DUTY OR OTHER DISSUASION FROM SERVICE AS A JUROR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 13-5-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-35. (1) It shall be unlawful for any employer or any other person to persuade or attempt to persuade any juror to avoid jury service; to intimidate or to threaten any juror in that respect; or to remove or otherwise subject an employee to adverse employment action as a result of jury service if the employee notifies his or her employer that he or she has been summoned to serve as a juror within a reasonable period of time after receipt of a summons.
(2) It shall be unlawful for an employer to require or request an employee to use annual, vacation or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty, time spent participating in the jury selection process, or time spent actually serving on a jury. Nothing in this provision shall be construed to require an employer to provide annual, vacation or sick leave to employees under the provisions of this statute who otherwise are not entitled to such benefits under company policies.
(3) Any violation of subsection (1) or (2) of this section shall be deemed an interference with the administration of justice and a contempt of court and punishable as such.
(4) A court shall automatically postpone and reschedule the service of a summoned juror employed by an employer with five (5) or fewer full-time employees, or their equivalent, if another employee of that employer has previously been summoned to appear during the same period. Such postponement will not constitute the excused individual's right to one (1) automatic postponement under Section 13-5-24.
(5) A person discharged from employment in violation of subsection (1) of this section may commence a civil action against his employer and obtain:
(a) Wages and benefits lost as a result of the violation;
(b) An order of reinstatement without loss of position, seniority or benefits;
(c) Damages equal to the amount of the lost wages and benefits;
(d) Reasonable attorney's fees fixed by the court; and
(e) Punitive or exemplary damages in an amount not to exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00).
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 2007.