|SAME AS||No Same As|
|COSPNSR||Kavanagh, Miller MG, Abinanti, Weprin|
|Amd §§519 & 750, Judy L; amd §215, Lab L|
|Creates, in addition to the existing sanction of criminal contempt of court, the remedies of labor law civil penalties and employee's right to bring civil action for unlawful discharge, penalty or discrimination on account of the exercise by an employee of a juror's right to be absent from employment by reason of jury service.|
|01/20/2017||referred to judiciary|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2527 SPONSOR: Dinowitz (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the judiciary law and the labor law, in relation to creating additional remedies for unlawful discharge, penalty or discrimination on account of the exercise of a juror's right to be absent from employment for jury duty   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Adds discrimination in any manner in addition to discharge or penalty as actions an employer cannot engage in when an employee is selected for jury duty. This act also amends the labor law so that civil penalties can be levied against the employer and/or civil action can be brought against the employer for violations arising from an employee's right to be absent from employment due to jury duty.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends section 519 of the judiciary law to specify that absence due to jury duty service is not grounds for discharge or any discrimination of any kind from one's employer. Section 2 Amends paragraph 7 of subdivision A of section 750 of the judiciary law, as amended by chapter 823 of the laws of 1982. Section 3 amends section 215 of the labor law, as amended by chapter 564 of the laws of 2010, and paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 and paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of the laws of 2014, to allow the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to assess civil penalties against employers if it is determined that they in any way discriminated against workers resulting for jury duty service. Section 3 also permits employees to wage additional civil action against employers for any discrimination, loss of employment, damages, and reasonable attorney's fees. Section 4 provides for an effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: This act is needed to prevent any discrimination that might occur by an employer against an employee because the employee chose to exercise their duty and privilege of serving on a jury. In the past, an employer could not penalize or discharge an employee who served on a jury. This act would further clarify the law, allowing more employees to feel more secure in fulfilling their obligation, thereby allowing more persons to participate in the jury process. In turn, this would give our juries a greater cross-section of the population and make juries more represen- tative of society. This act would also allow for civil penalties and civil action against employers which will help to ensure that employers do not penalize, discharge or discriminate against those employees who are called to serve on juries.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2015-16- A.116-A - Advanced to Third Reading Cal. No. 412 2013-14- A.649 - Advanced to Third Reading Cal. No. 531 2011-12- A.718-A - Advanced to Third Reading Cal. No. 316/S.4065 - Referred to Judiciary 2009-10- A.609-A - Passed Assembly 2007-08- A.408 - Passed Assembly 2005-06- A.1246A - Passed Assembly/ S.3128-A- Referred to Judiciary 2003-04- A.3173 - Passed Assembly 2001-02- A.218 - Passed Assembly 1999-2000- A.68 - Passed Assembly   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become law.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2527 2017-2018 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY January 20, 2017 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. DINOWITZ, KAVANAGH, M. G. MILLER, ABINANTI, WEPRIN -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. GOTTFRIED, LIFTON -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the judiciary law and the labor law, in relation to creating additional remedies for unlawful discharge, penalty or discrimination on account of the exercise of a juror's right to be absent from employment for jury duty The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. Section 519 of the judiciary law, as added by chapter 85 2 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows: 3 § 519. Right of juror to be absent from employment. Any person who is 4 summoned to serve as a juror under the provisions of this article and 5 who notifies his or her employer to that effect prior to the commence- 6 ment of a term of service shall not, on account of absence from employ- 7 ment by reason of such jury service, be subject to discharge [ or], 8 penalty, or discrimination in any other manner. An employer may, howev- 9 er, withhold wages of any such employee serving as a juror during the 10 period of such service; provided that an employer who employs more than 11 ten employees shall not withhold the first forty dollars of such juror's 12 daily wages during the first three days of jury service. Withholding of 13 wages in accordance with this section shall not be deemed a penalty or 14 discrimination in any other manner. Violation of this section shall 15 constitute a criminal contempt of court punishable pursuant to section 16 seven hundred fifty of this chapter and shall also constitute a 17 violation of section two hundred fifteen of the labor law and be subject 18 to the civil penalties and civil action provided for thereunder. 19 § 2. Paragraph 7 of subdivision A of section 750 of the judiciary law, 20 as amended by chapter 823 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as 21 follows: EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03180-01-7A. 2527 2 1 7. Wilful failure to obey any mandate, process, or notice issued 2 pursuant to [ articles] article sixteen[ , seventeen, eighteen, eighteen-a3 or eighteen-b] of [ the judiciary law] this chapter, or to rules adopted 4 pursuant thereto, or to any other statute relating thereto, or refusal 5 to be sworn as provided therein, or subjection of an employee to 6 discharge [ or], penalty, or discrimination in any other manner on 7 account of his or her absence from employment by reason of jury or 8 subpoenaed witness service in violation of this chapter or section 9 215.11 of the penal law. Applications to punish the accused for a 10 contempt specified in this subdivision may be made by notice of motion 11 or by order to show cause, and shall be made returnable at the term of 12 the supreme court at which contested motions are heard, or of the county 13 court if the supreme court is not in session. 14 § 3. Section 215 of the labor law, as amended by chapter 564 of the 15 laws of 2010, paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 and paragraph (a) of subdi- 16 vision 2 as amended by chapter 537 of the laws of 2014, is amended to 17 read as follows: 18 § 215. [ Penalties] Civil penalties and civil action; prohibited retal- 19 iation. 1. (a) No employer or his or her agent, or the officer or agent 20 of any corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, or any 21 other person, shall discharge, threaten, penalize, or in any other 22 manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee (i) because such 23 employee has made a complaint to his or her employer, or to the commis- 24 sioner or his or her authorized representative, or to the attorney 25 general or any other person, that the employer has engaged in conduct 26 that the employee, reasonably and in good faith, believes violates any 27 provision of this chapter, or any order issued by the commissioner (ii) 28 because such employer or person believes that such employee has made a 29 complaint to his or her employer, or to the commissioner or his or her 30 authorized representative, or to the attorney general, or to any other 31 person that the employer has violated any provision of this chapter, or 32 any order issued by the commissioner (iii) because such employee has 33 caused to be instituted or is about to institute a proceeding under or 34 related to this chapter, or (iv) because such employee has provided 35 information to the commissioner or his or her authorized representative 36 or the attorney general, or (v) because such employee has testified or 37 is about to testify in an investigation or proceeding under this chap- 38 ter, or (vi) because such employee has otherwise exercised rights 39 protected under this chapter, or (vii) because the employer has received 40 an adverse determination from the commissioner involving the employee, 41 or (viii) because such employee has exercised his or her right to be 42 absent from employment pursuant to section five hundred nineteen of the 43 judiciary law by reason of jury service. 44 An employee complaint or other communication need not make explicit 45 reference to any section or provision of this chapter to trigger the 46 protections of this section. 47 (b) If after investigation the commissioner finds that an employer or 48 person has violated any provision of this section, the commissioner may, 49 by an order which shall describe particularly the nature of the 50 violation, assess the employer or person a civil penalty of not less 51 than one thousand nor more than ten thousand dollars provided, however, 52 that if the commissioner finds that the employer has violated the 53 provisions of this section in the preceding six years, he or she may 54 assess a civil penalty of not less than one thousand nor more than twen- 55 ty thousand dollars. Each act taken in contravention of a prohibition 56 contained in this section shall constitute a separate and distinctA. 2527 3 1 violation of this section, and in assessing any such civil penalty the 2 commissioner shall consider, in addition to the nature of the violation, 3 all prior findings of violations of the provisions of this section by 4 the employer. The commissioner may also order all appropriate relief 5 including enjoining the conduct of any person or employer; ordering 6 payment of liquidated damages to the employee by the person or entity in 7 violation; and, where the person or entity in violation is an employer 8 ordering rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to his or her former 9 position or an equivalent position, and an award of lost compensation or 10 an award of front pay in lieu of reinstatement and an award of lost 11 compensation. Liquidated damages shall be calculated as an amount not 12 more than twenty thousand dollars. The commissioner may assess liqui- 13 dated damages on behalf of every employee aggrieved under this section, 14 in addition to any other remedies permitted by this section. 15 (c) The provisions of section two hundred thirteen of this article 16 shall not apply to the violations specified in this section. 17 (d) This section shall not apply to employees of the state or any 18 municipal subdivisions or departments thereof. 19 2. (a) [ An] In addition to the civil penalties provided for under 20 subdivision one of this section, an employee may bring a civil action in 21 a court of competent jurisdiction against any employer or persons 22 alleged to have violated the provisions of this section. The court shall 23 have jurisdiction to restrain violations of this section, within two 24 years after such violation, regardless of the dates of employment of the 25 employee, and to order all appropriate relief, including enjoining the 26 conduct of any person or employer; ordering payment of liquidated 27 damages, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the employee by the 28 person or entity in violation; and, where the person or entity in 29 violation is an employer, ordering rehiring or reinstatement of the 30 employee to his or her former position with restoration of seniority or 31 an award of front pay in lieu of reinstatement, and an award of lost 32 compensation and damages, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. Liqui- 33 dated damages shall be calculated as an amount not more than twenty 34 thousand dollars. The court shall award liquidated damages to every 35 employee aggrieved under this section, in addition to any other remedies 36 permitted by this section. The statute of limitations shall be tolled 37 from the date an employee files a complaint with the commissioner or the 38 commissioner commences an investigation, whichever is earlier, until an 39 order to comply issued by the commissioner becomes final, or where the 40 commissioner does not issue an order, until the date on which the 41 commissioner notifies the complainant that the investigation has 42 concluded. Investigation by the commissioner shall not be a prerequisite 43 to nor a bar against a person bringing a civil action under this 44 section. 45 (b) At or before the commencement of any action under this section, 46 notice thereof shall be served upon the attorney general by the employ- 47 ee. 48 3. Any employer or his or her agent, or the officer or agent of any 49 corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, or any other 50 person who violates subdivision one of this section shall be guilty of a 51 class B misdemeanor. 52 § 4. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall 53 have become a law.