In Rogers v. Bromac Title Services, a three judge panel from the 5th Circuit upheld the trial judge's decision to dismiss the plaintiff's wrongful termination claim pursuant to the Jury System Improvement Act ("JSIA"), 28 USC 1875.
In this case, plaintiff, a closing officer, sued her former employer (real estate company) for violating 28 USC 1875 ("No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.")
Plaintiff alleges that she was terminated from Bromac because of her service as a grand juror which required her to miss numerous work days. Defendant claims that plaintiff was terminated for making two offcolor remarks at important meetings. Defendant moved for summary judgment and it was granted. Plaintiff filed a timely appeal.
Plaintiff's first offcolor comment, which occured on August 31, 2011 during a meeting with real estate agents, was as follows: [r]aise your hand if you have had unprotected sex.
Plaintiff's second offcolor comment, which occured on April 18, 2012, again during a meeting, was as follows: [y]ou guys know you are always welcome to call me after hours or on weekends. I always answer my phone unless I'm drinking.
2 days after this second comment plaintiff was fired. She had been on the job since April 29, 2009. Rogers grand jury service had initially run from Aug 22, 2011 to Feb. 19, 2012; however, it was extended to August 19, 2012.
In upholding the trial court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim, the three judge panel determined that with claims arising under the JSIA, the plaintiff must prove that she would not have been subjected to the adverse employment action but-for her jury service. The panel then determined that the evidence presented by plaintiff was not enough to create a genuine material issue of fact that the reasons (her inappropriate statements in two important meetings) offered by the defendant were pre-textual.