Topic: Supreme Court

The Connecticut Supreme Court Aces Another ABC Test

This is the latest in a series of blog posts on the so-called “ABC Test,” which is used in Connecticut to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits. Last year the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision with an employer-friendly interpretation of the…

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What Is the Extent of an Employer’s Liability For the Acts of an Employee?

An employer can be liable for injury done by an employee to a third party under the doctrine known as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability can arise when the employee’s activity that caused the injury was done 1) on the express orders or directions of the employer, 2) carrying out the employer’s business within the scope…

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Gender Identity Bathroom Access – From Schools To The Workplace

As readers of our Education Law Notes blog are well aware, there has been a lot of focus on the rights of transgender students with respect to bathroom access in educational institutions under Title IX. The rights of transgender employees to utilize the bathroom matching their gender identity under Title VII, however, has received far…

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Workers Comp Continues To Be Exclusive Remedy for Workplace Injuries

Workers compensation laws are among the oldest protective labor statutes, dating back to the early 1900’s. Workers compensation embodies a simple tradeoff: employees may not bring personal injury lawsuits against their employers for workplace injuries, but in return there is mandatory insurance so that claims can be processed quickly with funds available for payment, and…

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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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Some Workers Compensation Principles That Are Often Misunderstood

A recent decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court sheds light on some common misunderstandings of the reach of workers compensation benefits. The basic events in Hart v. Federal Express Corporation, 321 Conn. 1 (decided April 19, 2016) are not controversial.  The plaintiff was a delivery driver who experienced a debilitating combination of a large number…

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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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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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The Connecticut Supreme Court Gets an “A”

There are several facets to the question of whether a person who provides services to a business is an employee or an independent contractor. This classification issue affects whether tax withholding is applied to compensation, whether compensation must comply with wage and hour regulations (i.e., minimum wage and overtime rules), whether workers compensation coverage is…

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The Return of “Mental-Mental:” Will Workers Compensation Again Be Extended to Cover Emotional Trauma?

As my partner Mark Sommaruga observed in a recent post, the current term of the General Assembly may consider extending workers compensation coverage to employees who suffer purely emotional trauma, without a causative physical injury. Such an extension of coverage would be a reversion to prior workers compensation law that was amended over 20 years…

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The Appropriate Punishment for Actual and Perceived Threats in the Workplace-Take Two; the Appellate Court (Sensibly) Speaks

Last year, I wrote about an unsuccessful attempt to vacate a puzzling arbitration award that overturned the termination of a school custodian who made threats of violence. In a decision that was officially  issued on October 13, 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court has (sensibly) reinstated the original termination. In Bridgeport Board of Education v. NAEG, Local…

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Be Aware of Public Employees Disciplinary Proceedings Protections: Loudermill, Weingarten and Garrity

This post is primarily for public sector employers such as state agencies, municipalities and districts.  By virtue of being employed by the government and quite likely represented by a labor union, public sector employees in Connecticut have an array of rights in disciplinary proceedings which are not necessarily available to employees of private businesses.  These…

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Recent Colorado Supreme Court Decision on Medical Marijuana Highlights Risks Facing Employers in Connecticut Who Seek to Enforce Drug Free Workplace Policies

As many of our clients know, we frequently train and counsel employers on the implications of Connecticut’s medical marijuana law in the workplace.  Although medical marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, Connecticut’s statute legalizes medical marijuana use in the state and affords users and caregivers certain protections.  One of these protections is contained in…

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