Topic: Employee Relations

Making Sure Your At-Will Employees Remain At-Will

Almost every state, including Connecticut, recognizes the doctrine of employment-at-will, meaning that in the absence of a contractual provision to the contrary, the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason or for no reason. There are federal and state statutory exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine, such as…

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When Can An Employee Quit and Sue?

You might think that before filing a lawsuit for wrongful discharge, an employee would have to actually be discharged, but that is not necessarily so. Employment law includes a principle known as “constructive discharge,”  in which an employee can resign but claim that he was forced to quit by the improper actions of the employer,…

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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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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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No Premium Processing for April 2017 H-1B Petitions

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services announced on Friday, March 3, 2017, that effective April 3, 2017, it will suspend premium processing of H-1B petitions, for an expected six months. Its stated reason for doing so is to focus on addressing a backlog of long-pending non-premium petitions. Because April 3 is the first day…

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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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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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They’re Back! What Should Employers Expect from the 2017 Connecticut General Assembly Session?

On January 4, the 2017 session of the Connecticut General Assembly begins. The session is scheduled to adjourn on June 7, 2017. Numerous proposed bills affecting Connecticut employers and employees will be unleashed during the session, most of which will never see the light of day. The Labor and Public Employees Committee will be where…

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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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Wake Up! The New Overtime Rule Takes Effect Soon!

It’s September 6, the day after Labor Day, symbolically the end of summer, traditionally the first day of school, and psychologically the beginning of the homestretch on the year. It’s also 85 days until December 1, which is the effective date of the new federal rule on who qualifies for the white-collar overtime exemptions. If…

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