A Miami-Dade jury awarded security guard Jackalyn P. Strachan $150,000 in damages recently in a lawsuit against her employer. The jury found that a Miami security firm, Hall Investigation Service, wrongfully denied wages and fired Ms. Strachan for serving as a juror in a murder trial in April 2007. The jury is a fundamental part of what makes the U.S. judicial system work. No employer should keep an employee from serving on a jury. Serving on a jury is an important duty of citizenship and one that all of us should take seriously.

Mrs. Strachan, 57, was a longtime Hall security supervisor. In April 2007, she was stationed at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza office building when she told company owner Arthur Hall about the jury summons. Hall became angry and told his employee she should skip court for work. Ms. Strachan served three days on the jury that convicted a man of murder for fatally beating a homeless man with a tree branch.

The trial judge gave Ms. Strachan a letter vouching for her service, and also a copy of the county law protecting citizens who serve on juries. Hall still refused to pay the employee the $400 in wages she should have earned during the three days of jury service. He later accused Ms. Strachan of fraud and threatened to report her to the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office. The jurors in the case awarded the employee $30,000 for lost wages and emotional distress, and $120,000 in punitive damages. Michael Feiler, a lawyer located in Coral Gables, Fla., represented the Plaintiff and did a good job.

Source: Miami Herald

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