Topic: Labor

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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Alternative Theories To Address Former Employee Competition Where There Are No Covenants

A recent Connecticut Superior Court case demonstrates that all is not lost for an employer when a former employee without a non-compete or a non-solicitation covenant leaves and competes. Wentworth, DeAngelis & Kaufman, Inc. v. Nims, 2014 WL 1013479 (Conn. Super.). The defendant there joined the plaintiff’s insurance agency in 2007 to service certain of its…

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What Is The Interactive Process?

The interactive process is a crucial step for an employer in dealing with an employee’s request for accommodation of a disability. Failure to conduct and document the interactive process can result in liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the related Connecticut fair employment practice statutes, even when the employee’s initial request might not…

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Can Watching Grandchildren Entitle Employee To FMLA Leave?

As all employers covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are well aware, that Act requires them to provide up to 12 weeks of leave to employees providing care to covered family members with a serious health condition.  While a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered family member under the…

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EEOC Issues New Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

Clients often call with questions regarding their need to provide accommodations to pregnant women.  In fact, I received such a call last week and was working through a particularly complicated issue when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidelines yesterday attempting to clarify how employers must accommodate employees with pregnancy-related disabilities.  While pregnancy accommodation…

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More Executive Action on Immigration Reform: Work Authorization For H-4 Spouses

In a new draft rule notable not only for its substantive content but also for the fact that it represents another incremental immigration reform measure undertaken by executive action in lieu of stalled Congressional legislation, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service is proposing to grant some spouses of H-1B visa holders employment authorization of their…

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What Does the Unemployment Rate Actually Tell Us?

The percentage rate of unemployment, known as the “official unemployment rate,” is the ratio of those who are unemployed compared to those in the civilian labor force. Those in the labor force are defined as persons who were working or actively looking for work within the last four weeks. This percentage rate, called U-3, is…

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Lowe’s Settles Independent Contractor Misclassification Case

Buying something at Lowe’s? Need help putting it where it belongs, hooking it up, making it work? “Get it installed by a Lowe’s professional,” Lowe’s advertises. Over 4000 such “Lowe’s professionals” in California are members of the plaintiff class in an action alleging that Lowe’s misclassified its installers as independent contractors, rather than employees, thus…

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The Supreme Court Says Public Employee’s Court Testimony Protected From Retaliation Under The First Amendment, At Least To The Extent Testifying Is Not A Job Duty

Eight years ago the United States Supreme Court, in Garcetti v. Ceballos, instructed that speech undertaken pursuant to a public employee’s job duties is “employee” speech and not “citizen” speech, and hence is not protected by the First Amendment. Since issuance of Garcetti, lower courts have wrestled with the task of determining exactly when an…

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How Important is Attendance at Work?

The answer seems obvious. The employer must decide what hours of work are best for producing its products or serving its customers, and employees must maintain regular and reliable attendance during those hours. In fact, non-exempt employees are paid by the hour because they only provide value for the company when they are at work…

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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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Connecticut Congressman Sponsors “Payroll Fraud Prevention Act”

Readers of this blog will be aware that the misclassification of employees as independent contractors has been a major concern of state and federal authorities for several years. Employers don’t provide workers compensation insurance for independent contractors, they’re not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, and they’re not paid overtime if they work more than 40…

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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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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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