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House Bill No. 5918

Public Act No. 08-103

AN ACT CONCERNING JURORS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 51-217a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2008):

(a) A person shall be excused from jury service during the jury year commencing September 1, 1999, and each jury year thereafter, [upon request of that person,] if during the next three preceding jury years such person appeared in a court for jury service and was not excused from such jury service, except that such person may request to be summoned for jury service during such three-jury-year period in the same manner as persons are summoned who are not excused from jury service. Such request may be made at any time with written notice to the Jury Administrator.

(b) The court shall have authority to excuse a juror from juror service, upon a finding of extreme hardship.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 51-217 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2008):

(c) The Jury Administrator shall have the authority to establish and maintain a list of persons to be excluded from the summoning process, which shall consist of (1) persons who are disqualified from serving on jury duty on a permanent basis due to a disability for which a licensed physician has submitted a letter stating the physician's opinion that such disability permanently prevents the person from rendering satisfactory jury service, (2) persons seventy years of age or older who have requested not to be summoned, [and] (3) elected officials enumerated in subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of this section and judges enumerated in subdivision (5) of subsection (a) of this section during their term of office, and (4) persons excused from jury service pursuant to section 51-217a, as amended by this act, who have not requested to be summoned for jury service pursuant to said section. Persons requesting to be excluded pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection must provide the Jury Administrator with their names, addresses, dates of birth and federal Social Security numbers for use in matching. The request to be excluded may be rescinded at any time with written notice to the Jury Administrator.

Sec. 3. Section 51-247a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2008):

(a) An employer shall not deprive an employee of his or her employment, or threaten or otherwise coerce [him] the employee with respect [thereto] to his or her employment, because the employee receives a summons in accordance with the provisions of section 51-232, responds [thereto] to the summons, or serves as a juror.

(b) Any juror-employee who has served eight hours of jury duty in any one day shall be deemed to have worked a legal day's work as that term is used in section 31-21, as amended by this act, and an employer shall not require the juror-employee to work in excess of said eight hours.

(c) Any employer who violates this section shall be guilty of criminal contempt, and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

[(b)] (d) If an employer discharges an employee in violation of this section, the employee, within ninety days of such discharge, may bring a civil action for recovery of wages lost as a result of the violation and for an order requiring reinstatement of the employee. Damages recoverable shall not exceed lost wages for ten weeks. If [he] the employee prevails, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee fixed by the court.

[(c)] (e) Any employer who fails to compensate a juror-employee [under subsection (b) of] pursuant to section 51-247 of the 2008 supplement to the general statutes and who has not been excused from such duty [under] to compensate a juror-employee pursuant to section 51-247c of the 2008 supplement to the general statutes shall be liable to the juror-employee for damages. The juror may commence a civil action in any superior court having jurisdiction over the parties. Extreme financial hardship on the employer shall not be a defense to [this] such action. The court may award treble damages and reasonable attorney's fees to the juror upon a finding of wilful conduct by the employer.

[(d)] (f) Each state's attorney, assistant state's attorney and deputy assistant state's attorney shall collect in the name of the state and by suit when necessary, any fines imposed under this chapter.

Sec. 4. Section 31-21 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2008):

[Eight] Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of section 51-247a, as amended by this act, eight hours of labor performed in any one day by any one person shall be a legal day's work unless otherwise agreed.

Approved May 27, 2008