Topic: Appellate Court Decision

A Word To The Wise: Castleberry v. STI Group And The Expansion Of Liability For Hostile Work Environments

In David Lynch’s film Dune, a character proclaims that the protagonist “can kill with a word.”  Although not quite as dramatic, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that an employer can violate federal civil rights statutes with a word.  Specifically, in Castleberry v. STI Group, the Third Circuit held…

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Dueling Time Cards: The Appellate Court Provides Guidance On Resolving Unpaid Wage Claims

Wage and hour law requires employers to keep true and accurate time records for payment of wages and overtime. This is usually a routine exercise with respect to non-exempt employees, for whom employers will have detailed records provided by payroll companies or their own payroll procedures which are required to show, among other things, the…

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Second Circuit Identifies Outer Limits of NLRA-Protected Speech

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) generally prohibits employers from retaliating against employees based on their union-related activities or for taking concerted action to improve the terms and conditions of their employment, even in the absence of a union. But an employee can lose the protection of the NLRA if he or she acts in…

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Can You Fire The Needle-Phobic Pharmacist Who Refuses To Perform Immunizations?

As more and more pharmacies move into the role of providing immunizations, someone has to perform those immunizations.  Often, this duty falls to the pharmacist.  So, what happens when a pharmacist claims he cannot perform immunizations due to trypanophobia – the fear of needles?  According to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate…

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Honesty is the Best Policy

May an employer fire an employee for lying about the reason for an absence? In a recent decision, the Connecticut Appellate Court said “yes.” Orlando Martinez worked for Polar Industries as a machine operator. He was called for jury duty on October 21, 2013.  His employer didn’t grant paid sick days, but did pay employees…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 9th Public Hearing (and wage/hour bills)

On Thursday, February 9, 2017 (weather permitting), the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills, many of which concern “wage and hour” issues: S.B. No. 13 AN ACT CONCERNING THE MINIMUM FAIR WAGE. This proposed bill would increase the minimum wage from the current $10.10/hour…

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Don’t Be A Cat’s-Paw

Most sexual harassment policies include a procedure to investigate complaints, often specifying that the investigation will be timely and thorough, and may include interviews with the employees involved, witnesses, and anyone else with relevant knowledge. A recent decision from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, whose decisions govern the Connecticut federal…

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Differences in Public Policy Can Affect Claims of Wrongful Discharge

Most jurisdictions, including Connecticut, recognize a tort of “wrongful discharge” as an exception to the principle of employment at will. Although employment at will generally allows either the employer or the employee to terminate the employment relationship at any time, employers may not use employment at will to justify the termination of an employee for…

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What Is Termination For Cause?

“At-will” employment is an established legal principle in Connecticut. Most non-unionized Connecticut employers publish a statement to employees, either in an employee handbook or employment application materials or both, that the employment relationship between the employee and the company is employment at will.  These “disclaimer” statements typically explain that at-will employment means that the employment…

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Arbitrators Have The Right To Be Wrong: The Second Circuit Speaks About “Deflategate” (And What’s Next)

When we last wrote about “Deflategate”, Tom Brady, the National Football League Players Association [“NFLPA”] and New England Patriots fans were basking in the glory of the reversal of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s unprecedented four game suspension of Brady related to his alleged role in the alleged deflation of footballs before the 2014 AFC Championship…

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The Appropriate Punishment for Actual and Perceived Threats in the Workplace-Take Two; the Appellate Court (Sensibly) Speaks

Last year, I wrote about an unsuccessful attempt to vacate a puzzling arbitration award that overturned the termination of a school custodian who made threats of violence. In a decision that was officially  issued on October 13, 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court has (sensibly) reinstated the original termination. In Bridgeport Board of Education v. NAEG, Local…

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