AN EARLY HALLOWEEN TRICK FOR CONNECTICUT’S PUBLIC-SECTOR LABOR UNIONS: WILL JANUS V. AFSCME, CO. 31 BE THE END OF THE AGENCY SHOP?

Did Halloween come early this year? Well it just may have for Connecticut’s public-sector unions. On September 28th, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, thus once again agreeing to hear a case that poses the question of whether union agency fee…

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TIME IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE: SEVERSON V. HEARTLAND WOODCRAFT, INC. AND THE LIMITS OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UNDER THE ADA

Although less rare than the recent solar eclipse, common-sense results can be elusive when dealing with workplace discrimination lawsuits. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, however, recently delivered such a decision in the case of Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., in which the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s finding that…

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What Are the Limits of Reasonable Accommodation?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to the known mental or physical limitations of an otherwise qualified individual. The Act defines a qualified individual as someone who, with or without accommodation, “can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.”  Furthermore, the Act defines…

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ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CHANGE COURSE ON RECOGNIZING TRANSGENDER WORKER RIGHTS UNDER TITLE VII

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has advised United States Attorneys across the country as well as federal agency heads that the Justice Department is reversing its prior position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace — protects transgender workers from discrimination. In his…

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What To Expect From a Doctor’s Note

Employees who are absent from work for protracted periods of time due to illness or injury submit various types of medical documentation to their employers. Such documentation does not always provide a definite answer to an employer’s most pressing question; namely, when will the employee return to work?  Instead, the doctor’s notes often indicate only…

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Connecticut Court Declines to Apply Physician Non-Compete Statute Retroactively

A Connecticut superior court recently held that Connecticut’s statute limiting the noncompetition agreements by which Connecticut physicians may be bound, may not be applied retroactively. In the 2016 legislative session, the Connecticut legislature enacted Section 20-14p, which provides, among other things, that a non-competition agreement with a physician may not restrict the physician’s activities for…

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The Regular Rate of Pay May Not Be As Obvious As It Seems

This blog has previously addressed various complications in establishing the regular rate of pay on which the calculation of overtime is based. See our November 21, 2016 post Importance of Establishing An Employee’s Regular Rate of Pay here..   To recap, overtime pay is calculated at the rate of one and one half times an employee’s…

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Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Against Use of Fluctuating Workweek Method in Calculating Overtime Pay for Retail Employees

On August 17, 2017, in Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., the Connecticut Supreme Court invalidated the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime pay for retail employees who are paid in whole or in part by commission.  The effect of this ruling is particularly significant to multi-state retail establishments with Connecticut employees, as the ruling…

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Overtime Update

What happened to the Obama administration’s proposed new rule on employee eligibility for overtime pay?  Seven months into the Trump administration, do we know what to expect?  Recent events provide some clarity on these questions. A year ago, many employers were preparing to implement a new rule adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor, under…

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A Word To The Wise: Castleberry v. STI Group And The Expansion Of Liability For Hostile Work Environments

In David Lynch’s film Dune, a character proclaims that the protagonist “can kill with a word.”  Although not quite as dramatic, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that an employer can violate federal civil rights statutes with a word.  Specifically, in Castleberry v. STI Group, the Third Circuit held…

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How Not to Fire: Lessons from President Trump for Employers.

Firing an employee does not usually make national headlines, but the recent firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Donald Trump was a notable exception.  The headlines continued when President Trump appeared to offer varying explanations for why Comey was fired. At first, the Trump administration asserted that the termination was based upon the…

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Making Sure Your At-Will Employees Remain At-Will

Almost every state, including Connecticut, recognizes the doctrine of employment-at-will, meaning that in the absence of a contractual provision to the contrary, the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason or for no reason. There are federal and state statutory exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine, such as…

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When Can An Employee Quit and Sue?

You might think that before filing a lawsuit for wrongful discharge, an employee would have to actually be discharged, but that is not necessarily so. Employment law includes a principle known as “constructive discharge,”  in which an employee can resign but claim that he was forced to quit by the improper actions of the employer,…

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Another Form of Workplace Harassment

Harassment is a form of workplace discrimination.   The most well-known is sexual harassment, which can consist of unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, but also includes conduct of a sexual nature which interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.  Sexual harassment is prohibited in discrimination…

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