Topic: Labor

The Importance of Timing in Employment Terminations

There is a saying that “timing is everything,” and in some instances of employment termination, the timing, if not everything, may still be an  important consideration. Many of the laws which provide benefits to employees contain provisions which protect the employees from retaliation for use of those benefits.  Examples of such protections are included in…

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How Will The Administration’s Recent Executive Orders Affect Employment-Based Immigration?

President Obama’s remarks last week announcing his executive orders on immigration reform, and the press coverage that has followed the announcement, have largely focused on changes involving undocumented immigrants and family unity.  While the White House has also announced changes to the employment-based immigration system, those changes have been less discussed, and are as yet…

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They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait – and Get Paid for It

When the poet John Milton observed that “they also serve who only stand and wait,” it was unlikely that he was thinking about employees who are required to pass through security clearance when leaving the workplace at the end of their shift. However, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has thought about such employees,…

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Many Employee Retirement Plan Dollar Limits Adjusted For 2015

The Internal Revenue Code provides for various dollar limitations on benefits, contributions, and compensation for tax-qualified employee benefit plans.  Recently, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for 2014, including those applicable to 401(k) and other tax-qualified retirement plan limits.  Several dollar limits such as the salary deferral contribution limit to 401(k)…

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Required Consideration Lacking For Replacement Employment Contract

A September 23rd Connecticut Appellate Court decision tells a cautionary tale for employers drafting employment contracts intended to replace earlier contracts. Thoma v. Oxford Performance Materials, Inc., 2014 WL 4548490 (Conn. App.). In Thoma, the employee’s first contract gave her the right to a generous severance if the employer terminated her without cause. It also…

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A Question To Be Answered By The Supreme Court: Should You Discuss The Obvious At Job Interviews?

Sometime next year the United States Supreme Court will decide whether a job interviewer had an obligation to inform an applicant that the interviewer has noticed that the applicant is wearing a headscarf. Put another way, on the issue of an employer’s duty to accommodate an article of clothing worn as a religious practice, does…

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Reacting to Employee Off-The-Job Misconduct

A very concerned CEO calls his attorney. He has just learned that several months ago a key employee punched his fiancée, knocking her unconscious. There was a criminal charge that was dismissed, and the couple later married, but a bystander made a video of the incident which has made its way to the company. The…

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With the Latest Workplace Violence, Is It Time To Review Your Workplace Safety Policies?

The travesty of the latest workplace violence – a shooting on September 23, 2014 at UPS’s Birmingham Alabama facility and the beheading at a Vaughan Foods plant in Oklahoma – is a reminder that all employers must be vigilant to protect their employees, customers and vendors from potential workplace violence, whether from an employee or…

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Employee or Independent Contractor? A Change in the Ground Rules at FedEx Ground

I’ll bet you assume that the hard-working driver who delivers your packages and letters shipped by Federal Express is a FedEx employee. After all, he or she wears a FedEx uniform, drives a FedEx truck, uses a FedEx handheld computer, and operates on a FedEx schedule. So it may surprise you to learn that those…

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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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A Strange Case of Sexual Harassment

In a lawsuit currently pending in the Superior Court, an employee is accusing her supervisor of:  Urging her to go to the beach and wear a bikini, Calling her into his office to view images of naked women on his computer, Discussing “sex toys” with her, Relentlessly urging her to go to a “sex shop”…

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State Law Can Override Control Test for Employment

Past articles in this blog have discussed the control test for establishing an employment relationship as opposed to independent contractor status, (see Lowe’s post here and Employee or Independent Contractor post here.)  Although government agencies such as the Department of Labor or IRS describe the test in various ways, the fundamental concept is control, and…

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Could Non-Compete Agreements Be Banned in Connecticut?

Many employers believe that non-compete agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, can be an important tool in protecting confidential information, trade secrets, and other legitimate business interests. They allow business owners to share vital information with key employees without fearing that they have merely educated their competitors if the key employee jumps ship. Nor under…

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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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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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