DEAN v. GADSDEN TIMES PUBLISHING CORP.
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS OF ALABAMA
Decided June 11, 1973
An Alabama statute that provides that an employee excused for jury duty "shall be entitled to his usual compensation . . . less the fee or compensation he received for serving" as a juror, does not deprive the employer of property in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Day-Brite Lighting, Inc. v. Missouri, 342 U.S. 421 .
Certiorari granted; 49 Ala. App. 45, 268 So.2d 829, reversed.
Petitioner sued respondent, his employer, to recover compensation lost as a result of the employee's being required to serve as a juror. An Alabama statute provides that an employee excused for jury duty "shall be entitled to his usual compensation received from such employment less the fee or compensation he received for serving" as a juror. Ala. Code of 1940, Tit. 30, 7 (1) (Supp. 1971). It appears that petitioner served on a jury, received pay for the jury duty and submitted a bill of $63 to respondent, the difference between his regular wages and his jury pay. Respondent refused to pay; the trial court rendered a judgment for petitioner; but the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama held the state Act unconstitutional. 49 Ala. App. 45, 268 So.2d 829. The Supreme Court of Alabama denied certiorari to review that judgment. 289 Ala. 743, 268 So.2d 834. The case is here on petition for a writ of certiorari which we grant.
The Court of Civil Appeals held that the Act deprives the employer of property in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, its main reliance [412 U.S. 543, 544] being on Coppage v. Kansas, 236 U.S. 1 . Coppage declared unconstitutional as violative of due process a state statute which made it a misdemeanor for an employer to require an employee to agree not to join or remain a member of a union during his employment. That was when substantive due process was in its heyday. We cited Coppage along with other decisions of like tenor in Day-Brite Lighting, Inc. v. Missouri, 342 U.S. 421 , where we sustained a state statute which made it a misdemeanor for an employer to deduct wages of an employee for four hours when the employee absents himself from his job in order to vote. We held that the requirement placed on the employer to pay wages for this brief period when the employee is voting stood constitutional muster.