Author: Michael LaVelle

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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Limits on Control of Employee Smoking

The recent announcement by CVS pharmacies to eliminate the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products prompts a review of the employment statutes that pertain to smoking by employees.  In brief, employers can limit or prohibit smoking on the job, but not outside the course of employment. Section 31-40q of the Connecticut General Statutes protects…

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What is a Workday?

Connecticut has an interesting statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-21, which declares that “eight hours of labor performed in any one day by any one person shall be a legal day’s work unless otherwise agreed.”  But what is the meaning of a ‘legal day’s work,” and does it restrict employers and employees who would like to…

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When Your Employees Go to Court – Witness Duty

This post continues the discussion of employees absent from work for attendance at court.  As a general proposition, employees who appear in court for their own cases, or on behalf of others, are not excused from work.  They must use excused time off, such as vacation or personal time. One exception is for victims of…

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When Your Employees Go To Court – Jury Duty

This post discusses the Connecticut statutes that come into play when employees must go to court during what would otherwise be a day at work. A summons to jury duty is also a state-mandated excuse from attendance at work.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §51-247a prohibits employers from discharging, threatenting or otherwise coercing employees who receive a…

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Keeping Employees Informed

Every Connecticut workplace is required to have a variety of informational postings for employees, on topics such as OSHA, workers’ compensation, wage and hour pay requirements, and prohibitions on discrimination and sexual harassment.  Posters can be purchased from printing companies, and every business has a “poster corner” in employee lunchrooms, break rooms or locker rooms.…

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Connecticut Workers Are Protected From Head To Toe

Over the course of time, the Connecticut Legislature has enacted numerous and varied laws for the protection of Connecticut workers.  Some become quite well known, like the recent paid sick leave law, others are more obscure.  This blog will report on these statutes from time to time, either to refresh your understanding of the better…

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How Do You Win a Discrimination Case?

Obviously, the simple answer is to not discriminate.  But it also is important to have well-documented facts that support a business-related justification for the employer’s action and to demonstrate the plaintiff’s lack of proof of discrimination.  A discrimination lawsuit begins as little more than an accusation, and the court process moves slowly, but eventually a…

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