Author: Michael LaVelle

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…

Read more

Payment of Accrued But Unused Vacation Pay

The Connecticut rules for payment of accrued but unused vacation pay when employment terminates are fairly simple, but a brief refresher may be helpful to employers. Connecticut General Statutes § 31-71f requires employers to provide employees with a written statement of employment policies and practices, including vacation pay.  Connecticut General Statutes § 31-76k, which is…

Read more

Discrimination at Any Age

In  the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”),  29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq, Congress in 1967 prohibited discrimination in employment because of a person’s age, but limited the protections of the law to individuals who are at least 40 years old.  The preamble to the statute explained that Congress wanted to prevent the setting…

Read more

Timing and Consistency in Employee Discipline

A recent case decided by the Connecticut Appellate Court illustrates the importance of timing and consistency in administering employee discipline. In Barbee v. Sysco Connecticut, LLC, an opinion released on April 28, 2015, the plaintiff, a 16-year employee, was a supervisor who processed returns at a wholesale food distributor’s warehouse.  According to the plaintiff, it…

Read more

A Tip for Employers: Be Aware of How the Department of Labor Interprets Its Regulations

This story applies directly only to the restaurant industry, but it is a cautionary tale for every employer in Connecticut subject to the Department of Labor’s authority to write and interpret its regulations. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and almost all state wage-hour laws recognize “tip credit” – which means that the employer of…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

Innovative Payroll Practices May Not Be Legal

Connecticut law still allows employees to be paid their weekly pay in cash in pay envelopes, although this cumbersome practice has largely if not entirely given way to more modern forms of disbursement. In particular, electronic transfers of funds, such as direct deposit, are an inexpensive and easy way to meet payroll.  But methods of…

Read more

Reasonable Accommodation of a Disability Does Not Require Elimination of an Essential Job Function

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in employment against a qualified individual on the basis of disability, and discrimination includes failing to make a reasonable accommodation. The Connecticut Supreme Court has recently ruled that the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act also imposes a reasonable accommodation requirement on employers, even though not explicitly stated…

Read more