Author: Michael LaVelle

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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