Employment Law Firm Fired Secretary for Jury Duty Service?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 22, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Marla Osorio was a secretary at workplace-discrimination law firm. The last thing she probably expected was to be terminated -- for serving on a jury.

Oh, the irony.

The California Labor Commission has now sued Martin & Martin, based in Los Angeles. They claim that the firm violated state labor laws when they dismissed Osorio.

The complaint outlines the facts. In April 2006 Osorio received a letter that all Americans love getting: a jury summons.

Osorio was told by the human resources manager at Martin & Martin to try to postpone her jury service. It was rescheduled to June. Osorio was selected to be part of the jury, and was told to report to the court in July.

Osorio explained her situation to the law firm manager. She was then fired. In 2009 the California Department of Industrial Relations made a determination. They found the firm violated laws. The law firm was directed to reinstate Osorio with back pay.

Which... they did not do.

The firm appealed, lost, then failed to comply with the determination. That's why the California Labor commission has now sued, according to Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

Really, this seems to be a rather cut-and-dry case. And it may be a case of "they really should have known better." You'd think that an office full of employment lawyers would recognize a violation of state labor law.

Plus it's also a matter of common sense.

Serving on a jury, after all, is a civic duty. There are statutory protections for those lucky enough to be selected to serve on a panel.

So what's next for the firm? A trial? Maybe they should really just spare themselves the embarrassment and simply reinstate Marla Osorio. Though, one wonders if she would want to work for the firm that fired her.

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