The Court’s Ruling:
The Court acknowledged that a wrongful discharge claim may be based on the statutorily protected right to perform jury duty. The Court, however, found that the employee was terminated for his failure to report to work after jury duty, as required by the employer’s policy, and not for the jury duty itself.
The Court rejected the employee’s argument that, under the law, he could not be called back into work “before 3 a.m.” following his 12 p.m. dismissal. The Court noted that such a reading would make the first part of the section superfluous – that the employee could not be required to work on or before 5 p.m. on the day of appearance. Rather, the Court found that the two provisions of the section worked together to cover a 10 hour period lasting from 5 p.m. one day until 3 a.m. the next morning.
The Court acknowledged that travel to and from jury duty is encompassed by the protections of the law, and the time spent in such travel is also considered part of the jury duty. In this case, however, even with the travel time added, the employee could have returned to work before the end of the shift – even if it was only 45 minutes before.