Maryland workers would be protected from punishment or undue demands when they miss work for jury duty, under a new bill co-sponsored by State Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George’s).

SB-16, introduced Jan. 11, prevents workers from being forced to work the morning or night shift on the same day they perform jury duty. It also prevents an employer from firing a worker because of time lost due to jury duty. Violation of that provision could result in a fine of up to $1,000.

“As a practicing attorney, I understand that when you are called for jury duty, the court doesn’t take into consideration your work schedule,” Ramirez said in an e-newsletter to his constituents. “Yet current law does not protect those who work morning or night shifts from missing work for jury duty, as their shifts occur before and after court.”

The legislation, Ramirez said, “will help ensure those who work irregular hours get the rest they need before serving jury duty.”