Author: Michael LaVelle

Timing Issues in Employee Terminations

Deciding whether an employee should be terminated is a difficult decision, involving not only whether it is the right thing to do, but also whether it is the right time to do it. The appropriate personnel documentation to support a termination should be developed and shared with the employee well before the termination decision is…

Read more

Employers Should be Wary of “Guidance”

Government agencies with enforcement powers often publish “guidance” in the form of bulletins or FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) to provide assistance in compliance. However, unlike statutes and regulations, the guidance publications are not binding and do not have the force of law.  Guidance may be helpful in general, but in a particular instance may be…

Read more

Not Being Pregnant Can Support a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim

Discrimination in employment because of pregnancy is prohibited by the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (and also by the federal laws against employment discrimination). A basic element of any discrimination claim is that the employee asserting the claim be a member of a protected class.  For pregnancy discrimination, the class would include employees terminated while…

Read more

Supervisors Can Have Personal Liability for Employment Discrimination

Supervisors in Connecticut can be held to have personal liability under some statutes prohibiting discrimination in employment, but not others. In a 2002 decision in the case of Perodeau v. City of Hartford, 259 Conn. 729, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state Fair Employment Practices Act does not impose liability on individual employees. …

Read more

New Guidance from State and Federal Courts for Employers Who Require Arbitration of Employment Disputes

There is an on-going debate in the field of employment discrimination law as to whether an employer can require an employee to take a discrimination claim to arbitration rather than filing a lawsuit. A recent decision of the Connecticut Superior Court at Hartford in the case of Grose v. Didi, LLC gives some guidance on…

Read more

Limits to Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements

Business clients often ask us whether their non-compete agreements with key employees will actually be enforced by the courts. A recent decision from the Connecticut Superior Court illustrates the limits to enforcing these agreements. Typical of non-compete enforcement situations, the plaintiff company learned that an executive employee who had just resigned had been hired by…

Read more

Are Discretionary Bonuses Really Discretionary?

For some years, employment law in Connecticut has seemed to make a clear distinction between bonus plans that are discretionary, and plans that guaranteed payment of a bonus if specified performance criteria were met. In a pair of decisions interpreting Connecticut’s wage payment statutes (Connecticut General Statutes sec. 31-68 and 31-72), the Supreme Court of…

Read more

Is Predictive Scheduling Coming To Connecticut?

In certain businesses where work volume cannot be known in advance, such as outdoor maintenance work that is dependent on the weather and delivery of materials, or service work that is dependent on the volume of customers, employers try to keep labor costs under control by using “call-in” or “just-in-time” scheduling; i.e., having employees call…

Read more

Is a Broken Arm a Disability?

In Connecticut, employees with disabilities are protected from discrimination by both the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and by the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”). Some disabilities are obvious and permanent; for instance, no one would dispute that an amputated limb qualified as a disability under the law. However, employers are sometimes faced…

Read more

OSHA “Paper” Investigations

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has broad power to inspect workplaces. Section 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act empowers OSHA inspectors “to enter without delay and at reasonable times any factory, plant, establishment, construction site” or other workplace.  Inspectors have the right to inspect and investigate during regular working hours and…

Read more

Paid Family Leave May Be Just Around the Corner

Although the Connecticut General Assembly was not particularly active in employment legislation– perhaps because of the protracted budget crisis– our neighboring State of New York adopted a major new employment entitlement this year: paid family leave. Commencing on January 1, 2018, most employees in New York State will be eligible to receive weekly benefit payments…

Read more

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…

Read more