A federal court in Orlando, Florida has appointed an attorney to represent a woman who alleges her employer fired her for serving on a jury in a criminal trial that lasted several days. Her employer, Swift Transportation, says that the woman, Kadyra Reddick, was sent a termination notice which stated that she voluntarily resigned due to marital, family or personal issues. Reddick denies that she resigned, and said she informed Swift Transportation in advance that she was required to serve on the jury.
Federal law prohibits employers from firing, threatening to fire, intimidating or coercing a permanent employee who is required to serve on a jury, and employers who violate the prohibition can be liable for damages and be subject to a civil fine of up to $5,000 per violation.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
Court records state that Reddick appeared for jury service as required on Jan. 9, but was temporarily excused with instructions to report back later in the month. On Jan. 18, Reddick was seated on a jury. The same day, Swift informed Reddick they had a truck ready for her to pick up, but she told the company she was selected for a jury in a case that was slated to last five days.
Swift officials stopped communicating with Reddick after that date, even though she sent several emails and placed several calls to the company.
Reddick completed her jury service Jan. 23, and received a “separation notice” from Swift. The reason for separation, according to the document, was not a lack of work or a discharge, but that she “quit.” The explanation: “MARITAL/FAMILY/PERSONAL PROBS.”
In her lawsuit, Reddick said it’s unclear why Swift would indicate that she quit on Jan. 10, when she and company officials communicated about her assignments after that date.
Reddick is seeking lost earnings, reinstatement, lost benefits, attorney fees and costs, and is asking that Swift be subjected to a civil fine of $5,000.