One the greatest rights we have is the right to a jury trial. While many employment cases never make it to a jury, employees still have this fundamental right to attempt to get his/her case to a jury.
Over the last year, we have witnessed more employment cases being tried before a jury. One of the reasons we are seeing more jury trials is courts are trying to clear their backlogs from the pandemic, and the way to do that is by having jury trials and getting cases off their dockets. Another reason is people want their day in court. As a result, we have witnessed significant jury verdicts in employment cases.
I also realize that some people do not like juries. Why is this? Maybe it’s because your fate is in the hands of people that you do not know. Perhaps you may not feel confident that you will be given a jury of people who are truly your peers. That is okay if you are uncomfortable having a jury decide your case. You can always have a bench trial before the judge. I must admit getting a case to a jury is not easy, which is discussed by my colleague, Jairo Castellanos, in a recent blog. But, for now, let’s discuss who jurors are, their purpose, and recent jury verdicts.
Who are jurors and what is their purpose?
Jurors are individuals selected from a venire panel to serve as the jury. A venire panel is also known as the jury pool and is made up individuals who were randomly selected from our community for jury duty. During the selection process, attorneys often to get to ask the panel questions to ensure that an impartial jury is selected.
At the end of the day, jurors are vital to the American justice system. They protect our rights by deciding factual disputes. Without jurors performing their civic duty, it would be difficult for attorneys to pursue justice.
Recent Jury Verdicts
A verdict is the final and formal decision of the jury regarding the case tried before them. This verdict is read in open court and is generally accepted by the judge. While jury verdicts can be appealed, courts generally try not to disturb a jury verdict.
Earlier this year, in a Section 1981 case (an employment cause of action without a compensatory cap), a jury awarded $70 million to a group of African American employees who faced race discrimination through hostile treatment and denials of job promotions.
In another 1981 case, a jury awarded $366 million to an African American woman whose former employer disciplined and terminated her after she complained about racial discrimination.
Our Firm recently received a favorable jury verdict against a government entity. The jury found that the United States Army retaliated against our client for filing a claim of harassment based on her disability and awarded her $500,000.
This goes to show juries are not believing the lies of big companies; instead, they are awarding big jury verdicts employees.
If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against and you want to attempt to have your day in court, please contact our office at 214-528-6500. Our attorneys are experienced, prepared, and ready to represent you.