Author: Michael LaVelle

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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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