Author: Michael LaVelle

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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How Important is Attendance at Work?

The answer seems obvious. The employer must decide what hours of work are best for producing its products or serving its customers, and employees must maintain regular and reliable attendance during those hours. In fact, non-exempt employees are paid by the hour because they only provide value for the company when they are at work…

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Some Little-Known Leave of Absence Requirements

Connecticut employers are generally familiar with the chief leave of absence requirements, such as family and medical leave (starting with employers of 50 or more employees who are covered by federal FMLA) or leave for military personnel called to active duty. But there are some other requirements, more rarely encountered, that create other leave obligations.…

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Once An Employee – Never A Volunteer

It should be obvious that employees cannot be required to perform services for their employers as “volunteers.” This is properly seen by the Department of Labor as a ruse to avoid paying wages or overtime. By contrast, volunteers such as those who donate their services to public service, religious or humanitarian organizations, are not considered…

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Do You Comply With The New Personnel Files Statutes?

Last year the Connecticut legislature amended the state personnel files statutes to add specific compliance requirements in three areas. The prior statutes defined personnel and medical files, allowed employees to request inspection of their files, allowed employees to offer corrections, made personnel files confidential, and allowed employees to obtain copies. The amendments in Public Act…

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Paying Employees For Travel Time

Both the state and federal wage and hour laws have provisions addressing the question of when time spent traveling by a non-exempt employee is compensable. A new decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court in the case of Sarrazin v. Coastal, Inc., decided on April 29, 2014, addresses various travel time issues. There are generally three…

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The Current State of Whistleblower Protections in Connecticut

In the employment context, a “whistleblower” is an employee who discloses the illegal practices of his employer, usually by a report or complaint to a public authority.  There are a variety of statutory protections for whistleblowers, and the current legislature is contemplating an expansion of these protections. Oddly, the initial legal protection for whistleblowers in…

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