Topic: Labor

Paying Employees For Travel Time

Both the state and federal wage and hour laws have provisions addressing the question of when time spent traveling by a non-exempt employee is compensable. A new decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court in the case of Sarrazin v. Coastal, Inc., decided on April 29, 2014, addresses various travel time issues. There are generally three…

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When Is Someone “At Work”? Implications For Unemployment Compensation Eligibility (And Beyond)

Connecticut’s unemployment compensation statutes disqualify individuals from eligibility for benefits for certain misconduct, such as “willful misconduct in the course of employment.”  A recent court case notes that the “course of employment” could include conduct by individuals in the course of grievance and other labor relations proceedings. In Morales v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation, 2013 WL…

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“May I Record A Conversation With My Employee Without His Knowledge?”

At the Pullman & Comley Labor, Employment, and Employee Benefits Seminar recently, I was asked by one of the attendees, an HR Director, whether she could record a disciplinary meeting with a troublesome employee without telling the employee. This is a question that comes up from time to time. More often, it’s an employee who…

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Testing the Boundaries of the Faragher/Ellerth Defense in Sexual Harassment Cases

In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court created a defense for employers accused of permitting a supervisor to engage in unlawful sexual harassment of an employee.  In two seminal cases, the Court held that an employer is not vicariously liable for a supervisor’s workplace harassment of a subordinate if the employer can show: (1) that it…

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Déjà vu All Over Again: Planning For New Hires In Light of The H-1B Visa Lottery

For the second year in a row, the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) has received more petitions in the opening week of H-1B visa season than the number of visas that are available for the entire year.  This is true of both the “standard” and “U.S. advanced degree” caps.  Consequently: The USCIS will…

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Please Join Us At Pullman & Comley’s April 3rd “Strengthening Your Business With LGBT Diversity” Panel Discussion

On April 3rd, 2014, Pullman & Comley will host a panel discussion on how employers can strengthen their businesses through workplace diversity practices that promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (“LGBT”).  While many leading corporations throughout the country recognize employee diversity as a key part of their business strategies, LGBT professionals both in Connecticut and…

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Employee Theft of Employer Documents—Protected Conduct in Opposition to Discrimination or Criminal Activity?

What happens to board of education employees who steal board documents to support a lawsuit against their employer?  In New Jersey, at least, they are criminally prosecuted.  In State V. Saavedra, Docket No. A-1449-12T4 (Dec. 24, 2013)(link), the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the indictment of a North Bergen Board of Education [“Board”] employee who…

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Revamping Overtime Regulations: No Specifics Yet

President Obama announced this week that he is directing the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline” existing overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. He characterized the current regulations as “outdated,” and instructed the Secretary to “consider how the regulations could be revised to update existing protections consistent with the intent of the…

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The Current State of Whistleblower Protections in Connecticut

In the employment context, a “whistleblower” is an employee who discloses the illegal practices of his employer, usually by a report or complaint to a public authority.  There are a variety of statutory protections for whistleblowers, and the current legislature is contemplating an expansion of these protections. Oddly, the initial legal protection for whistleblowers in…

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Will The Material Change Doctrine Reduce Your Ability to Enforce Your Non-Competes?

Consider this:  An employee signs a perfectly reasonable non-compete/non-solicitation agreement at the inception of employment.  The employee remains with the employer for ten years and during that period, receives several promotions each of which changes or increases the employee’s duties.  Each of these jobs requires the employee to have significant customer contacts and become privy…

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2014 Seminar Speaker Announced

We are pleased to announce that Paul Lambert of 360 Corporate Benefit Advisors, an independent employee benefits consulting agency with specific expertise in health and welfare consulting,  will be the lunchtime speaker at our upcoming seminar on March 14.  His topic is The Affordable Care Act—A View from Ground Zero.  Paul will cover how the…

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What is the Appropriate Punishment for Actual and Perceived Threats in the Workplace?

Employers increasingly are concerned about threats to safety in the workplace.  At the same time, employers must be aware of the rights of any  employee accused of wrongdoing.  For a discussion of a recent case highlighting this tension, please visit Education Law Notes.…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly

The General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will be having its next public hearing on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building. The Committee will consider the following bills: Senate Bill. No. 219 (RAISED), AN ACT CONCERNING THE MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEM CONTRIBUTION RATE.  This bill…

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