Early jury duty release. Must he come to work?

Maintenance Supervisor Nat Marcus found himself in a scheduling bind the week Utility Worker Fred Knofler was on jury duty. With one man on vacation and another out sick, the work fell further and further behind.

01/01/1998


Maintenance Supervisor Nat Marcus found himself in a scheduling bind the week Utility Worker Fred Knofler was on jury duty. With one man on vacation and another out sick, the work fell further and further behind.

Marcus knew from experience that jurors were often let out early when not needed. It would be a break if that happened in Knofler's case. But no such luck. Knofler never showed up.

Later that week Marcus found out by chance that on four of the five days served, Knofler had been let off by 10:00 a.m.

The supervisor's lips tightened angrily. "The crum lives ten minutes from the plant. He could have come to work." Knowing Knofler, he wasn't surprised.

On payday, Knofler looked very much surprised when he appeared at the supervisor's desk.

"I've been shorted on my paycheck," he complained. "I didn't get a full week's pay."

"You were paid for the time you were entitled to: a full day for the full day you served on the jury, and 2 hr for each day you were released early and failed to report to work."

"No rule says you have to show up for work if you're let out early."

"Maybe no written rule. But it's common sense and a matter of ethical conduct."

Dissatisfied with that explanation, Knofler threatened to file a grievance.

Question: If he follows through on the threat, how do you rate his chances of winning?

Murdock's verdict: No additional pay for Knofler, Plant Engineer Phil Murdock declared. "The rule of reasonableness is implied. Knofler had plenty of time to come home, change clothes, and report to work. The purpose of jury duty pay is to compensate the employee for work time lost. The time Knofler lost was voluntary. He deserves to be disciplined rather than compensated."





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