A Strange Case of Sexual Harassment

In a lawsuit currently pending in the Superior Court, an employee is accusing her supervisor of:  Urging her to go to the beach and wear a bikini, Calling her into his office to view images of naked women on his computer, Discussing “sex toys” with her, Relentlessly urging her to go to a “sex shop”…

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Lies and Unemployment Compensation Proceedings – You Cannot Get Sued Again

A typical part of a contentious employment termination matter is the inevitable unemployment compensation claim.   While a multiplicity of claims may emanate from the ugliness of job separation, the Connecticut courts continuously remind us that employers need not fear being sued for defamation for negative statements that they may make regarding a former employee during…

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State Law Can Override Control Test for Employment

Past articles in this blog have discussed the control test for establishing an employment relationship as opposed to independent contractor status, (see Lowe’s post here and Employee or Independent Contractor post here.)  Although government agencies such as the Department of Labor or IRS describe the test in various ways, the fundamental concept is control, and…

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The Police Have The Right To Remain Silent Too: The Supreme Court Rules On The Disclosure Of Police Reports Under The FOIA

The Connecticut Supreme Court has resolved an intense debate about what law enforcement agencies are required to release with regard to arrest records and associated reports.  This decision  could affect the ability of school boards, municipalities and other public bodies to investigate employee and student misconduct. The Court’s decision in Commissioner of Public Safety v.…

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Could Non-Compete Agreements Be Banned in Connecticut?

Many employers believe that non-compete agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, can be an important tool in protecting confidential information, trade secrets, and other legitimate business interests. They allow business owners to share vital information with key employees without fearing that they have merely educated their competitors if the key employee jumps ship. Nor under…

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Blood is Thicker Than Water: The Obligation To Bargain Over Nepotism Policies

It seems sensible for an employer to have a nepotism policy restricting the circumstances where an employee may supervise a family member (or make employment decisions such as compensation, discipline, evaluation, or promotional opportunities).  However, at least in the unionized workplace, and especially in the public sector, employers cannot let common sense get in the…

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Alternative Theories To Address Former Employee Competition Where There Are No Covenants

A recent Connecticut Superior Court case demonstrates that all is not lost for an employer when a former employee without a non-compete or a non-solicitation covenant leaves and competes. Wentworth, DeAngelis & Kaufman, Inc. v. Nims, 2014 WL 1013479 (Conn. Super.). The defendant there joined the plaintiff’s insurance agency in 2007 to service certain of its…

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What Is The Interactive Process?

The interactive process is a crucial step for an employer in dealing with an employee’s request for accommodation of a disability. Failure to conduct and document the interactive process can result in liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the related Connecticut fair employment practice statutes, even when the employee’s initial request might not…

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Can Watching Grandchildren Entitle Employee To FMLA Leave?

As all employers covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are well aware, that Act requires them to provide up to 12 weeks of leave to employees providing care to covered family members with a serious health condition.  While a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered family member under the…

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EEOC Issues New Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

Clients often call with questions regarding their need to provide accommodations to pregnant women.  In fact, I received such a call last week and was working through a particularly complicated issue when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidelines yesterday attempting to clarify how employers must accommodate employees with pregnancy-related disabilities.  While pregnancy accommodation…

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More Executive Action on Immigration Reform: Work Authorization For H-4 Spouses

In a new draft rule notable not only for its substantive content but also for the fact that it represents another incremental immigration reform measure undertaken by executive action in lieu of stalled Congressional legislation, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service is proposing to grant some spouses of H-1B visa holders employment authorization of their…

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What Does the Unemployment Rate Actually Tell Us?

The percentage rate of unemployment, known as the “official unemployment rate,” is the ratio of those who are unemployed compared to those in the civilian labor force. Those in the labor force are defined as persons who were working or actively looking for work within the last four weeks. This percentage rate, called U-3, is…

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Fortunately, Sometimes Life is “Unfair”: Town of Greenwich v. Greenwich Municipal Employees Association and Reversal of an Overreaching Arbitration Decision

Lawyers like to believe that arbitration decisions concerning employee discipline should be made in accordance with the law and the applicable collective bargaining agreement, not solely by an arbitrator’s personal notions of fairness.  In a decision issued June 5, 2014, a Superior Court judge reminded us that while arbitration rulings usually are difficult to overturn,…

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Lowe’s Settles Independent Contractor Misclassification Case

Buying something at Lowe’s? Need help putting it where it belongs, hooking it up, making it work? “Get it installed by a Lowe’s professional,” Lowe’s advertises. Over 4000 such “Lowe’s professionals” in California are members of the plaintiff class in an action alleging that Lowe’s misclassified its installers as independent contractors, rather than employees, thus…

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The Supreme Court Says Public Employee’s Court Testimony Protected From Retaliation Under The First Amendment, At Least To The Extent Testifying Is Not A Job Duty

Eight years ago the United States Supreme Court, in Garcetti v. Ceballos, instructed that speech undertaken pursuant to a public employee’s job duties is “employee” speech and not “citizen” speech, and hence is not protected by the First Amendment. Since issuance of Garcetti, lower courts have wrestled with the task of determining exactly when an…

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