Topic: Employee Handbooks

Is Disloyalty Its Own Reward?

May a disloyal employee keep the compensation his employer paid him, even while he was betraying his employer’s trust? In a recent case, the Connecticut Supreme Court said “yes, at least in some circumstances.”  Here’s the story. The employee – we’ll call him Bill – worked for a building contractor – we’ll call it W…

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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 16th Public Hearing (Wage/Hour and Leave)

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, 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” and leave issues (and some of which were considered last year): S.B. No. 13 AN ACT CONCERNING THE MINIMUM FAIR WAGE.  This proposed bill would…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: January 31st Public Hearing

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills: Proposed H.B. No. 5151 AN ACT CONCERNING TIMETABLES FOR MUNICIPAL BINDING ARBITRATION. This proposed bill would require all municipal employers and unions to complete negotiations within one year from the date that…

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Finding Ways to Sue

An employee who is terminated from employment does not have a legal right to sue the employer simply because he believes that the termination was “unfair.” While union contracts typically contain a provision that discipline, including termination, be for just cause, there is no similar statute or rule of law that protects non-union employees generally.…

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“CURES ACT” Authorizes Small Employers to Reimburse Employees for Health Insurance Costs

One major area of confusion and annoyance created by the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) has finally been put to rest with the enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13, 2016 (the “Cures Act”).  Many small employers were chagrined by the IRS pronouncement in 2013 (IRS Notice 2013-54) that the ACA prohibited…

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Can a Single Employee Go On Strike Against a Non-Union Company?

The short answer is “yes.”  The National Labor Relations Act extends the same protections to employees of non-unionized employers as it does to union members.  One of those protections is the right to engage in a strike, which is simply a work stoppage in support of a concerted activity, such as a demand for changes…

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The NLRB’s Challenge To Bridgewater’s Confidentiality Clauses: Its Significance For Employers

The NLRB’s new focus on non-union employment has been well–chronicled here.  Employment contract provisions thought to be governed only by state contract law principles are now subject to the federal National Labor Relations Act and its unfair labor practice prohibition.  Recent NLRB activity concerning confidentiality provisions in hedge fund Bridgewater Associates’ standard employment contract underscores…

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Importance of Establishing An Employee’s Regular Rate of Pay

Overtime pay is calculated at a rate of one and one-half times a non-exempt employee’s regular rate, a well-known formula which obviously depends on establishing the employee’s regular rate of pay. This should ordinarily be simple, since the pay of  a non-exempt employee is usually stated in terms of an hourly rate of pay, and…

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Firing Employees For Private Facebook Posts: Employers Should Proceed With Caution

The recent filing of a lawsuit by a former television anchor against her former employer has magnified the need for employers to have a sound and meaningful social media policy. Former Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania news anchor, Wendy Bell, was fired after she made a post on her personal Facebook page about the murder of six people…

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Recordkeeping and the New Federal Overtime Rules

Under the new federal overtime rules effective December 1 (the “Final Rule”), a salaried worker must earn at least $913 per week ($47,476 for a full-year worker) in order to be exempt from overtime pay, up from the current minimum of $455 per week ($23,660 for a full-year worker).  Employees who become newly eligible for…

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Should You Allow Your Employees Time Off to Vote? Three Considerations for Connecticut Employers

Election Day is now less than two weeks away. While many states require employers to provide their employees with time off to vote, Connecticut is not one of them. Employers in the state should, however, keep the following considerations in mind: If you provide your employees with paid vacation, personal days or other paid time…

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An Example of the Interplay Between State and Federal FMLA

Any Connecticut employer with more than 75 employees is subject to both the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts. The key provisions of the two laws are nearly identical, with one significant exception:  the Connecticut FMLA leave entitlement is 16 weeks within a 24-month period, whereas the federal FMLA entitlement is 12 weeks within…

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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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