Matter of Eigner
Justice Colleen Duffy
The court received a letter from a juror's employer, respondent Eigner, at the start of a criminal case noting concern at the loss of the juror for any duration and stating it would have an impact on his business. The court replied that the law did not provide for exemption from jury service based on potential difficulties caused by an employee's absence from work. The juror notified the court he was terminated by respondent due to his service as a juror. Eigner was served by the sheriff with an order to show cause issued by the court directing him to show cause why he should not be found guilty of criminal contempt of court for terminating the juror for his jury service under Judiciary Law §750(A)(7). The court stated its responsibility to ensure employers do not take adverse action against their employees due to work absence due to jury duty was important as New York did not have a private right of action by an employee for wrongful discharge if fired due to jury service. The court withdrew its order to show cause as Eigner showed a good faith attempt to purge any potential contempt by entering into an agreement with the juror pertaining to his employment with Eigner's company.