Bednarczyk et al. v. King County

This court case is completed

A case was brought on behalf of people called for jury duty in King County who wanted to fulfill their duty of jury service but could not afford to be paid only $10 per day—the amount required by WA state law—because many employers do not pay salaries while jurors serve. The trial court dismissed the case on the grounds that the minimum wage law did not apply to jurors because they are not “employees,” and the Court of Appeals in a 2-1 ruling upheld the trial court. ACLU-WA has filed an amicus brief explaining the importance of jury diversity and the many factors, including low pay, that create barriers to jury diversity in WA. Low juror pay disproportionately affects those facing financial hardship and people of color, which means they are less likely to be represented on juries. Juries should be representative of the communities in which they serve to the extent possible because representative juries decrease the presence of bias, increase efficacy, and result in jury decisions that are more legitimate in the eyes of the public. Plaintiffs in the case are now seeking review in the Washington Supreme Court and ACLU-WA will file an amicus in support of review.