Alternative Visa Strategies in The Aftermath of The Record-Breaking April 2015 H-1B Lottery

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service announced yesterday that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B visa petitions in the first week of the application window for the 85,000 cap-subject visas available for fiscal year 2016.  That record-breaking number means that nearly two-thirds of employers who prepared diligently ahead of the opening of the season, in…

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Insubordination Can Disqualify an Employee From Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Unemployment compensation is a form of social insurance.  Workers who lose their jobs receive benefits – which are less than they earned when employed – to provide a level of income while transitioning to the next job.  Therefore the “default setting” for the unemployment compensation system is that an individual who has been separated from…

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What is The “Right To Work”?

With a bill signed into law last month, Wisconsin became the nation’s 25th “right to work” state.  In this context, right-to-work means the right of an employee of a unionized company to retain his job even if he chooses not to join or support the union. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which governs relations between…

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Common Sense Prevails: Arbitration Award OK’ing On-Duty Drug Usage Overturned

In the world of labor arbitration, common sense sometimes takes a holiday.  Fortunately, a Superior Court judge recently overturned an arbitrator’s attempt at second guessing an employer’s response to serious misconduct involving on the job drug use. In State of Connecticut v. Connecticut Employees Union Independent, 2014 WL 5572251, a skilled maintainer at the UConn…

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The Perennial Problem of References

Most employers would be very happy to receive a frank appraisal from a prospective employee’s former employer.  Yet most employers are themselves reluctant to give references concerning former employees, or any information beyond confirming job title and dates of employment, and possibly wage rates.  There is a perceived risk in actually giving a candid evaluation…

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Latest Developments From The Connecticut General Assembly: The Labor and Public Employees Committee Speaks

On Thursday, March 12, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee  voted favorably on a plethora of bills and advanced them out of committee. Among the most noteworthy were: 1) a bill that would require certain “large” employers to pay a quarterly fee to the Department of Labor for each employee that receives…

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Potential New Salary Minimum for Exempt Employees

The test for classifying employees as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements may be briefly summarized as follows:  the employee must be paid on a salary basis (i.e., receive the same base salary amount every workweek regardless of the number of hours worked), and the employee must perform duties which satisfy the…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: March 3 and 6 Public Hearings

As promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. A. On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills. 1. S.B. No. 953 AN ACT CONCERNING LABOR PEACE. (LAB) 2. S.B. No. 984 (RAISED)…

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Military Leave of Absence and the Obligations of Connecticut Municipal Employers

When an employee gives notice of the need to take a leave of absence for military service, there are some questions that municipal employers will reflexively ask: Do we have to permit the leave?  Must the employee be paid his/her usual salary while on leave? Is there any way to limit the duration of the…

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H-1B Crunch Time Is Upon Us; Act Now Or Be On The Sidelines Until 2016

With the United States job market continuing to recover slowly but steadily, and immigration reform legislation becoming an increasingly more distant possibility in the 114th Congress, it is extremely likely that H-1B visas for the upcoming fiscal year will be oversubscribed, and that there will be a lottery for the visas among those who apply…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 24 and 26 Public Hearings

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. A. On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct an “off site” public hearing on: a) 26 different proposed bills that would modify the “prevailing wage” statute that applies to municipal construction…

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Federal FMLA Regulations Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced changes to the regulations that define a “spouse” for purposes of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.  The changes fully implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.  That statute had defined the terms “marriage” and…

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Medical Insurance Premium Reimbursement — A Brief Reprieve for Small Employers

Some employers – particularly smaller ones – have assisted their employees to obtain health insurance by reimbursing them for the cost of insurance they purchase in the individual market.  Does this practice satisfy the requirement of the Affordable Care Act?  On February 18, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2015-17 (“the Notice”), which reiterates…

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