Topic: termination

Don’t Be A Cat’s-Paw

Most sexual harassment policies include a procedure to investigate complaints, often specifying that the investigation will be timely and thorough, and may include interviews with the employees involved, witnesses, and anyone else with relevant knowledge. A recent decision from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, whose decisions govern the Connecticut federal…

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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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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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There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government is also their employer. Public employees have the right to speak out about matters of public concern (which…

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What Is Termination For Cause?

“At-will” employment is an established legal principle in Connecticut. Most non-unionized Connecticut employers publish a statement to employees, either in an employee handbook or employment application materials or both, that the employment relationship between the employee and the company is employment at will.  These “disclaimer” statements typically explain that at-will employment means that the employment…

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Timing and Consistency in Employee Discipline

A recent case decided by the Connecticut Appellate Court illustrates the importance of timing and consistency in administering employee discipline. In Barbee v. Sysco Connecticut, LLC, an opinion released on April 28, 2015, the plaintiff, a 16-year employee, was a supervisor who processed returns at a wholesale food distributor’s warehouse.  According to the plaintiff, it…

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Hear No Evil; See No Evil: The General Corporate Knowledge Presumption

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of Kwan v. The Andalex Group LLC, – F.3d – (2d Cir. 2013) as it related to the likelihood of obtaining summary judgment on Title VII retaliation claims in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Nassar decision, which seemingly raised the employee’s standard of proof of…

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Investigating Employee Complaints – An Employer’s Double Bind

An employee, having been notified of his impending termination, complains to his employer of discrimination.  A human resources professional retained by the employer to investigate the complaint concludes that the employee was treated fairly with respect to the termination of his employment.  At trial in the employee’s subsequent lawsuit, may the employer introduce evidence of…

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The Meaning of “But-For” Harassment: The Second Circuit Breaks Its Silence and it is not Good for Employers

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII retaliation claims must be proven according to traditional principles of “but-for” causation.  Since Univ. of Tex. Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013),  employees must now provide proof that but for the employer’s retaliatory animus, the employee would not have been terminated,…

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