Author: Michael LaVelle

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Evolution of a Statutory Benefit: Use of Paid Sick Leave by Employees Who Aren’t Sick Themselves

The Connecticut employment laws mandate several workplace protections for employees which in an earlier era would have been found only in collective bargaining agreements or the employer’s own policies.   Just a few examples are restrictions on workplace surveillance (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-48b), limitations on employee drug testing (Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51t et seq.), employee…

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They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait – At No Extra Charge

Last month, this blog discussed a case pending at the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of whether employees who were required to pass through a security clearance at the beginning and end of their shifts could claim that the time spent waiting in line for clearance should be considered paid time under the Fair…

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The Importance of Timing in Employment Terminations

There is a saying that “timing is everything,” and in some instances of employment termination, the timing, if not everything, may still be an  important consideration. Many of the laws which provide benefits to employees contain provisions which protect the employees from retaliation for use of those benefits.  Examples of such protections are included in…

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They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait – and Get Paid for It

When the poet John Milton observed that “they also serve who only stand and wait,” it was unlikely that he was thinking about employees who are required to pass through security clearance when leaving the workplace at the end of their shift. However, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has thought about such employees,…

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A Question To Be Answered By The Supreme Court: Should You Discuss The Obvious At Job Interviews?

Sometime next year the United States Supreme Court will decide whether a job interviewer had an obligation to inform an applicant that the interviewer has noticed that the applicant is wearing a headscarf. Put another way, on the issue of an employer’s duty to accommodate an article of clothing worn as a religious practice, does…

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Reacting to Employee Off-The-Job Misconduct

A very concerned CEO calls his attorney. He has just learned that several months ago a key employee punched his fiancée, knocking her unconscious. There was a criminal charge that was dismissed, and the couple later married, but a bystander made a video of the incident which has made its way to the company. The…

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A Strange Case of Sexual Harassment

In a lawsuit currently pending in the Superior Court, an employee is accusing her supervisor of:  Urging her to go to the beach and wear a bikini, Calling her into his office to view images of naked women on his computer, Discussing “sex toys” with her, Relentlessly urging her to go to a “sex shop”…

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State Law Can Override Control Test for Employment

Past articles in this blog have discussed the control test for establishing an employment relationship as opposed to independent contractor status, (see Lowe’s post here and Employee or Independent Contractor post here.)  Although government agencies such as the Department of Labor or IRS describe the test in various ways, the fundamental concept is control, and…

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Could Non-Compete Agreements Be Banned in Connecticut?

Many employers believe that non-compete agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, can be an important tool in protecting confidential information, trade secrets, and other legitimate business interests. They allow business owners to share vital information with key employees without fearing that they have merely educated their competitors if the key employee jumps ship. Nor under…

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What Is The Interactive Process?

The interactive process is a crucial step for an employer in dealing with an employee’s request for accommodation of a disability. Failure to conduct and document the interactive process can result in liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the related Connecticut fair employment practice statutes, even when the employee’s initial request might not…

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What Does the Unemployment Rate Actually Tell Us?

The percentage rate of unemployment, known as the “official unemployment rate,” is the ratio of those who are unemployed compared to those in the civilian labor force. Those in the labor force are defined as persons who were working or actively looking for work within the last four weeks. This percentage rate, called U-3, is…

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