Topic: Compensation

Update on the Employment Application Process and Background Checks

Now that Massachusetts has barred its employers from asking job applicants about salary information (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H4509 ), and Connecticut has joined the “Ban the Box” trend (prohibiting employers from asking applicants about arrests and convictions in an initial job application), and since many businesses still do not understand either the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act’s requirements…

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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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Wake Up! The New Overtime Rule Takes Effect Soon!

It’s September 6, the day after Labor Day, symbolically the end of summer, traditionally the first day of school, and psychologically the beginning of the homestretch on the year. It’s also 85 days until December 1, which is the effective date of the new federal rule on who qualifies for the white-collar overtime exemptions. If…

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Supreme Court Reaffirms Workers Compensation Exclusivity

Workers compensation has been described as a bargain in which an employee who has suffered a workplace injury relinquishes potentially large common-law tort damages in exchange for relatively quick and certain compensation provided by workers compensation insurance. This principle is known as the exclusivity rule.   In the recent case of Velecela v. All Habitat Services,…

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Connecticut Supreme Court Reaffirms the Right of an Employer to Determine When Commissions Are Paid

As a general proposition, under Connecticut law an employer has the right to determine the wage that will be paid for work performed by an employee, subject to basic requirements such as minimum wage or overtime. For wages that are paid as commissions, this means that the employer determines in its commission plan both how…

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The ABC’s Of Worker Classification Are Once Again Before The Connecticut Supreme Court

We have blogged before about the “ABC Test,” used in Connecticut to determine whether a worker is considered an employee for purposes of eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits. Most recently, my partner Michael LaVelle discussed a 2016 Connecticut Supreme Court decision, Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc. v. Administrator, in which the Court held that workers…

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There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government is also their employer. Public employees have the right to speak out about matters of public concern (which…

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Coming To A Workplace Near You: “Legal” Bi-Weekly Pay, Direct Deposit and Pay Cards

A prominent portion of Connecticut workplaces provide payment to employees via a bi-weekly pay check, with the weekly pay check almost an anachronism. In addition, many workplaces pay their employees by “direct deposit” of wages into the employees’ bank accounts.  To be blunt, many of these arrangements have been less than legal under Connecticut’s wage-hour…

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House Passes Small Business Healthcare Relief Act

Despite repeated guidance from the IRS that employer payment plans violate insurance reforms under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”), many small employers continue this arrangement of reimbursing employees for their cost of health insurance purchased on the individual market. Under current law, employers who do not sponsor a group health plan but instead reimburse…

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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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The Aftermath: Developments From The 2016 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting The Workplace

The 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly has just concluded, along with subsequent “special sessions.” Most prominently from an employment law standpoint, the General Assembly passed (and the Governor signed) legislation that: 1) prohibits most employers from inquiring via an initial employment application into a job applicant’s prior criminal history, 2) establishes a state…

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Government Releases New Overtime Exemption Rule

Late yesterday (May 17, 2016), the United States Department of Labor finally released its long-awaited new rule for determining which American workers are entitled to overtime pay – time-and-a-half for hours above forty in any workweek – and which are not. On the key issue of the salary threshold – the amount that an employee…

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Travel Time Is Paid Time, Sometimes

Employment typically requires an employee to commute from home to work, and home again at the end of the workday. Department of Labor regulations interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act recognize that the typical morning and evening commute, referred to in the regulations as home-to-work travel, is not compensable as work time.  This is so…

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Employers Have Flexibility in Applying the Professional Exemption

The basic premise of the Fair Labor Standards Act with regard to overtime pay is that all employees are to be paid overtime unless they qualify for an exemption. Among the exemptions are the three categories known as “white collar workers:” employees whose primary duty is executive, administrative, or professional, as defined in U. S.…

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Post-Friedrichs, The Agency Fee Ground Is Still Shaking Mightily, But For A Different Reason

Agency fee contract provisions in collective bargaining agreements that require public sector bargaining unit employees, as a condition of employment, to pay the union for the cost of contract administration, grievance adjustment and collective bargaining, passed constitutional muster in the 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (431 U.S. 209, 97…

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