Author: Mark Sommaruga

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 24 and 26 Public Hearings

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. A. On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct an “off site” public hearing on: a) 26 different proposed bills that would modify the “prevailing wage” statute that applies to municipal construction…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 17th Public Hearing

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills: 1. Proposed S.B. No. 81 AN ACT CONCERNING JOURNEYMEN AND APPRENTICES. 2. Proposed S.B. No. 108 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ABILITY OF ARBITRATION PANELS TO COMPROMISE WHEN RULING ON MUNICIPAL CONTRACT DISPUTES.…

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Developments in Pregnancy Discrimination Law: UPS, EEOC, and I

Readers of this blog have seen several posts on the topic of pregnancy discrimination. In the last couple of weeks, the following additional developments concerning the topic have occurred: 1.  You previously read about the issue of “forced leave,” which arises when a pregnant employee is unable to carry out essential job functions due to a pregnancy-related…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 5, 2015 Committee Meeting

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly.  The following is an update as to where we stand on labor and employment related legislation. At its February 5, 2015 meeting, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee voted to raise the following “concepts” as bills for…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: January 29 Public Hearing

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly.  The following is an update as to where we stand on labor and employment related legislation. Previously, at its  January 15, 2015 meeting, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee voted to raise the following “concepts” as…

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What Can Employers Expect from this Connecticut General Assembly Session?

On January 7, 2015, the 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began.  The session is scheduled to adjourn on June 3, 2015.   A plethora of proposed bills affecting Connecticut employers and employees will be unleashed during the session, most of which will never see the light of day.  For example, one does not have…

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Sex, Lies, and The FOIA: Wotjas v. Town of Stonington and The Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Complaints, Regardless of “Guilt.”

This author wrote previously on the status of sexual harassment investigations under the Freedom of Information Act [”FOIA”]. In a case that has grabbed some notoriety; the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has offered further guidance and reminders as to the public nature of sexual harassment complaints. In Wotjas v. Department of Administrative Services, Town…

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Don’t Make Promises That You Cannot Keep: Greenwich Silver Shield Association v. Town of Greenwich, the FOIA and Discrimination Investigations

Investigations in the public sector confront the competing demands of employee privacy rights and the public’s “right to know” under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Another decision by the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] reminds us that the scales tilt decidedly toward disclosure. In Greenwich Silver Shield Association v. Director, Human Resources Department, Town…

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Lies and Unemployment Compensation Proceedings – You Cannot Get Sued Again

A typical part of a contentious employment termination matter is the inevitable unemployment compensation claim.   While a multiplicity of claims may emanate from the ugliness of job separation, the Connecticut courts continuously remind us that employers need not fear being sued for defamation for negative statements that they may make regarding a former employee during…

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The Police Have The Right To Remain Silent Too: The Supreme Court Rules On The Disclosure Of Police Reports Under The FOIA

The Connecticut Supreme Court has resolved an intense debate about what law enforcement agencies are required to release with regard to arrest records and associated reports.  This decision  could affect the ability of school boards, municipalities and other public bodies to investigate employee and student misconduct. The Court’s decision in Commissioner of Public Safety v.…

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Blood is Thicker Than Water: The Obligation To Bargain Over Nepotism Policies

It seems sensible for an employer to have a nepotism policy restricting the circumstances where an employee may supervise a family member (or make employment decisions such as compensation, discipline, evaluation, or promotional opportunities).  However, at least in the unionized workplace, and especially in the public sector, employers cannot let common sense get in the…

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Fortunately, Sometimes Life is “Unfair”: Town of Greenwich v. Greenwich Municipal Employees Association and Reversal of an Overreaching Arbitration Decision

Lawyers like to believe that arbitration decisions concerning employee discipline should be made in accordance with the law and the applicable collective bargaining agreement, not solely by an arbitrator’s personal notions of fairness.  In a decision issued June 5, 2014, a Superior Court judge reminded us that while arbitration rulings usually are difficult to overturn,…

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Pregnancy and “Forced Sick Leave.” The Intersection of State and Federal Law, and What Is Permissible In the Connecticut Workplace

The situation that is at the epicenter of a recent controversy involving a Pier 1 employee, and a recent Connecticut federal court case, arises in the context of a pregnant employee being unable to carry out essential job functions due to a pregnancy-related condition.  The employer may then “force” the employee to commence the use…

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Wage Hour Claims and Casuto v. Town of Greenwich: The Department of Labor Investigation Is Not The End of The Story

Employers who have been through an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Labor Wage & Workplace Standards Division unfortunately have intimate knowledge of the potential burdens of defending against employee wage claims.  To make things even less joyous for employers facing such claims, the Connecticut Superior Court’s recent decision in Casuto v. Town of Greenwich,…

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The Aftermath: Developments From The 2014 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting The Workplace

The 2014 session of the Connecticut General Assembly has just concluded.  The following is a cursory description of bills that were passed by the General Assembly that may be of interest.  A more detailed summary of these enactments will be forthcoming. S.B. No. 32/PUBLIC ACT No. 14-1: AN ACT CONCERNING WORKING FAMILIES’ WAGES.  This Act…

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