Author: Michael LaVelle

Employees Have a Right to Complain About Intoxicated Co-Workers

The likely reaction to the title of this article would be: well of course they do. Workplace rules of conduct typically prohibit being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and although the condition of alcoholism might be protected as a disability, anti-discrimination law does not protect intoxication on the job. But the right to…

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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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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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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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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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What Is a Regulated Drug Test?

In 1987, the Connecticut legislature passed Public Act 87-551, entitled An Act Concerning Drug Testing in the Workplace, which imposed restrictions on employer-required drug testing (now found at Sections 31-51t et seq of the General Statutes). In general, prospective employees may be required to submit to a drug test as part of the application procedure,…

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Dueling Time Cards: The Appellate Court Provides Guidance On Resolving Unpaid Wage Claims

Wage and hour law requires employers to keep true and accurate time records for payment of wages and overtime. This is usually a routine exercise with respect to non-exempt employees, for whom employers will have detailed records provided by payroll companies or their own payroll procedures which are required to show, among other things, the…

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Bringing Your Dog to Work: Service Animals as Disability Accommodation

The reasonable accommodations for an employee’s disability that may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act can take many forms, including an employee coming to work each day accompanied an animal. The ADA and the FEPA have two main components for persons with disabilities: protections for employees…

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The Connecticut Supreme Court Aces Another ABC Test

This is the latest in a series of blog posts on the so-called “ABC Test,” which is used in Connecticut to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits. Last year the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision with an employer-friendly interpretation of the…

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Supervisor’s Personal Liability for Harassment

A recent case filed in the Waterbury superior court, Denault v. Community Mental Health Affiliates, et al, alleging an unfortunately familiar pattern of sexual harassment in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, named both the company and the harassing supervisor as defendants, and alleged that the individual supervisor had personal liability for his…

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What Is the Extent of an Employer’s Liability For the Acts of an Employee?

An employer can be liable for injury done by an employee to a third party under the doctrine known as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability can arise when the employee’s activity that caused the injury was done 1) on the express orders or directions of the employer, 2) carrying out the employer’s business within the scope…

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Workers Comp Continues To Be Exclusive Remedy for Workplace Injuries

Workers compensation laws are among the oldest protective labor statutes, dating back to the early 1900’s. Workers compensation embodies a simple tradeoff: employees may not bring personal injury lawsuits against their employers for workplace injuries, but in return there is mandatory insurance so that claims can be processed quickly with funds available for payment, and…

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The Same Actor Defense Requires the Same Stage

Employment defense lawyers are fond of the “same actor” defense to discrimination claims because it combines legal theory and common sense. The same actor inference can be used in cases based on claims of discrimination on account of characteristics such as race, gender or ethnicity, where the same supervisor both hired and fired the plaintiff.…

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Finding Ways to Sue

An employee who is terminated from employment does not have a legal right to sue the employer simply because he believes that the termination was “unfair.” While union contracts typically contain a provision that discipline, including termination, be for just cause, there is no similar statute or rule of law that protects non-union employees generally.…

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