Don’t Be A Cat’s-Paw

Most sexual harassment policies include a procedure to investigate complaints, often specifying that the investigation will be timely and thorough, and may include interviews with the employees involved, witnesses, and anyone else with relevant knowledge. A recent decision from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, whose decisions govern the Connecticut federal…

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Differences in Public Policy Can Affect Claims of Wrongful Discharge

Most jurisdictions, including Connecticut, recognize a tort of “wrongful discharge” as an exception to the principle of employment at will. Although employment at will generally allows either the employer or the employee to terminate the employment relationship at any time, employers may not use employment at will to justify the termination of an employee for…

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Wake Up! The New Overtime Rule Takes Effect Soon!

It’s September 6, the day after Labor Day, symbolically the end of summer, traditionally the first day of school, and psychologically the beginning of the homestretch on the year. It’s also 85 days until December 1, which is the effective date of the new federal rule on who qualifies for the white-collar overtime exemptions. If…

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Supreme Court Reaffirms Workers Compensation Exclusivity

Workers compensation has been described as a bargain in which an employee who has suffered a workplace injury relinquishes potentially large common-law tort damages in exchange for relatively quick and certain compensation provided by workers compensation insurance. This principle is known as the exclusivity rule.   In the recent case of Velecela v. All Habitat Services,…

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Connecticut Supreme Court Reaffirms the Right of an Employer to Determine When Commissions Are Paid

As a general proposition, under Connecticut law an employer has the right to determine the wage that will be paid for work performed by an employee, subject to basic requirements such as minimum wage or overtime. For wages that are paid as commissions, this means that the employer determines in its commission plan both how…

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The ABC’s Of Worker Classification Are Once Again Before The Connecticut Supreme Court

We have blogged before about the “ABC Test,” used in Connecticut to determine whether a worker is considered an employee for purposes of eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits. Most recently, my partner Michael LaVelle discussed a 2016 Connecticut Supreme Court decision, Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc. v. Administrator, in which the Court held that workers…

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There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government is also their employer. Public employees have the right to speak out about matters of public concern (which…

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Connecticut’s Ban-the-Box Legislation Becomes Law: Have You Revised Your Company’s Job Application?

On June 1, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 16-83, entitled “An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment” (the “Act”). The lynchpin of the Act is that it prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrest, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application unless (1) the…

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Application of Connecticut’s (Non-FMLA) Maternity Leave Law

The State of Connecticut has provided pregnancy leave in the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act which is different from the maternity leave provided by the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts.  Unlike FMLA leave, which has eligibility requirements, CFEPA pregnancy leave applies to all employees of employers with three or more employees.  CFEPA…

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Coming To A Workplace Near You: “Legal” Bi-Weekly Pay, Direct Deposit and Pay Cards

A prominent portion of Connecticut workplaces provide payment to employees via a bi-weekly pay check, with the weekly pay check almost an anachronism. In addition, many workplaces pay their employees by “direct deposit” of wages into the employees’ bank accounts.  To be blunt, many of these arrangements have been less than legal under Connecticut’s wage-hour…

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Does The Federal Trade Secrets Act Make A Difference For Connecticut Employers?

The federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (the President signed it on May 11th) went on the books with a lot of fanfare.  For the first time, employers (and other trade secret owners)  have a federal law claim for trade secret misappropriation, and resort to the federal courts for relief.  Previously, trade secret enforcement through civil…

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House Passes Small Business Healthcare Relief Act

Despite repeated guidance from the IRS that employer payment plans violate insurance reforms under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”), many small employers continue this arrangement of reimbursing employees for their cost of health insurance purchased on the individual market. Under current law, employers who do not sponsor a group health plan but instead reimburse…

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What Is Termination For Cause?

“At-will” employment is an established legal principle in Connecticut. Most non-unionized Connecticut employers publish a statement to employees, either in an employee handbook or employment application materials or both, that the employment relationship between the employee and the company is employment at will.  These “disclaimer” statements typically explain that at-will employment means that the employment…

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The Pullman & Comley Labor, Employment Law & Employee Benefits Department Welcomes Attorney Melinda B. Kaufmann

We are pleased to announce the addition of Melinda B. Kaufmann to the firm’s Labor, Employment Law & Employee Benefits Department. Ms. Kaufmann practices in the areas of labor and employment and education law. She advises boards of education on all aspects of their operations, including special education, bullying whistleblowing claims, Freedom of Information Act…

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The Aftermath: Developments From The 2016 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting The Workplace

The 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly has just concluded, along with subsequent “special sessions.” Most prominently from an employment law standpoint, the General Assembly passed (and the Governor signed) legislation that: 1) prohibits most employers from inquiring via an initial employment application into a job applicant’s prior criminal history, 2) establishes a state…

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