Author: Michael LaVelle

Connecticut Supreme Court Reaffirms the Right of an Employer to Determine When Commissions Are Paid

As a general proposition, under Connecticut law an employer has the right to determine the wage that will be paid for work performed by an employee, subject to basic requirements such as minimum wage or overtime. For wages that are paid as commissions, this means that the employer determines in its commission plan both how…

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There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government is also their employer. Public employees have the right to speak out about matters of public concern (which…

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Application of Connecticut’s (Non-FMLA) Maternity Leave Law

The State of Connecticut has provided pregnancy leave in the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act which is different from the maternity leave provided by the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts.  Unlike FMLA leave, which has eligibility requirements, CFEPA pregnancy leave applies to all employees of employers with three or more employees.  CFEPA…

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What Is Termination For Cause?

“At-will” employment is an established legal principle in Connecticut. Most non-unionized Connecticut employers publish a statement to employees, either in an employee handbook or employment application materials or both, that the employment relationship between the employee and the company is employment at will.  These “disclaimer” statements typically explain that at-will employment means that the employment…

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Travel Time Is Paid Time, Sometimes

Employment typically requires an employee to commute from home to work, and home again at the end of the workday. Department of Labor regulations interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act recognize that the typical morning and evening commute, referred to in the regulations as home-to-work travel, is not compensable as work time.  This is so…

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The Proper Response When an Employer Learns That an Absence Might Be Protected By FMLA

Regulations enforcing the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts (note: FMLA is applicable to employers with at least 50 employees) require an employee to give 30 days’ advance notice when the need for leave is foreseeable, but also address the many situations is which advance notice is not foreseeable, such as a sudden…

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Employers Have Flexibility in Applying the Professional Exemption

The basic premise of the Fair Labor Standards Act with regard to overtime pay is that all employees are to be paid overtime unless they qualify for an exemption. Among the exemptions are the three categories known as “white collar workers:” employees whose primary duty is executive, administrative, or professional, as defined in U. S.…

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The Connecticut Supreme Court Gets an “A”

There are several facets to the question of whether a person who provides services to a business is an employee or an independent contractor. This classification issue affects whether tax withholding is applied to compensation, whether compensation must comply with wage and hour regulations (i.e., minimum wage and overtime rules), whether workers compensation coverage is…

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The Return of “Mental-Mental:” Will Workers Compensation Again Be Extended to Cover Emotional Trauma?

As my partner Mark Sommaruga observed in a recent post, the current term of the General Assembly may consider extending workers compensation coverage to employees who suffer purely emotional trauma, without a causative physical injury. Such an extension of coverage would be a reversion to prior workers compensation law that was amended over 20 years…

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Risks In Being A Joint Employer

Joint employment of one worker by two businesses can create risks of liability for both employers in a variety of ways. Both businesses may be liable, for example, on claims for employment discrimination and/or violations of wage and hour laws. A recent Guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Labor describes two forms of joint…

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Be Aware of Public Employees Disciplinary Proceedings Protections: Loudermill, Weingarten and Garrity

This post is primarily for public sector employers such as state agencies, municipalities and districts.  By virtue of being employed by the government and quite likely represented by a labor union, public sector employees in Connecticut have an array of rights in disciplinary proceedings which are not necessarily available to employees of private businesses.  These…

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