Yesterday, January 28th was Data Privacy Day!

Led by the non-profit group, National Cyber Security Alliance, the first Data Privacy Day was celebrated in the United States in 2008.   We here at Pullman & Comley got a jump on celebrating Data Privacy Day with our “Data Privacy, Cybersecurity and Your Business” Seminar last week, and we know that it is important to…

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Supreme Court Defines “Clothes”

Yesterday (January 27), the Supreme Court issued a ruling that defines the word “clothes” for purposes of a federal statute that allows employers and unions to bargain over pay for time spent by employees “changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday.”  According to Justice Scalia, who relies on a 1950…

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Employee Gripes: When Employers Should Take Them Seriously

An employee’s speech in the workplace may be disruptive to the day-to-day running of your company or worse, downright offensive and “bad for business.”  This blog post will discuss when an employer is free to discipline an employee for their speech and when they can not because some speech begets legal protection while other speech…

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The FOIA and the Great Beyond-Personnel File Exceptions Do Not Belong to the Deceased

In a recent case, the Superior Court reminded us all about the limitations that exist under the so-called “personnel files” exception to the disclosure of records under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  One prominent limitation to this exception is that one must actually be alive in order to assert a privacy right in a…

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Stand-Alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements May Not Be Dead After All

Many employers offer employees Health Reimbursement Arrangements (“HRAs”) to assist employees meet their health care related expenses.  Often such employer funded arrangements are not “integrated” with an insured health plan, rather they are offered as a “stand-alone” arrangement.  On September 13, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service with the concurrence of the U.S. Departments of Labor…

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When Your Employees Go to Court – Witness Duty

This post continues the discussion of employees absent from work for attendance at court.  As a general proposition, employees who appear in court for their own cases, or on behalf of others, are not excused from work.  They must use excused time off, such as vacation or personal time. One exception is for victims 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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When Your Employees Go To Court – Jury Duty

This post discusses the Connecticut statutes that come into play when employees must go to court during what would otherwise be a day at work. A summons to jury duty is also a state-mandated excuse from attendance at work.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §51-247a prohibits employers from discharging, threatenting or otherwise coercing employees who receive a…

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Book on Freedom of Information Act by Attorney Sommaruga Released

Pullman & Comley, along  with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, have jointly published Understanding the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and Access to Public Meetings and Records, written by Mark J. Sommaruga, Esq., a member of Pullman & Comley’s Labor, Employment Law and Employee Benefits Department and School Law section.  This book is…

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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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Lessons from the National Football League in the Workplace

Regardless of whether one is a Miami Dolphins or NFL fan, the recent investigation by the NFL regarding allegations of bullying involving Jonathan Martin may tell a precautionary tale for all employers.  Briefly, Martin left the Dolphins in the middle of the 2013 NFL season, claiming that he had been a victim of bullying by…

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Keeping Employees Informed

Every Connecticut workplace is required to have a variety of informational postings for employees, on topics such as OSHA, workers’ compensation, wage and hour pay requirements, and prohibitions on discrimination and sexual harassment.  Posters can be purchased from printing companies, and every business has a “poster corner” in employee lunchrooms, break rooms or locker rooms.…

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Connecticut Workers Are Protected From Head To Toe

Over the course of time, the Connecticut Legislature has enacted numerous and varied laws for the protection of Connecticut workers.  Some become quite well known, like the recent paid sick leave law, others are more obscure.  This blog will report on these statutes from time to time, either to refresh your understanding of the better…

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Connecticut Law Requires Employers to Adopt Cafeteria Plans

In 2007 Connecticut adopted a law  requiring employers to adopt cafeteria plans if their employees are required to pay a portion of the health insurance premium for employer-sponsored health insurance through payroll deduction.  Connecticut wanted to make sure that employees would have the opportunity to pay such premiums on a pre-tax basis.  This law did…

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Should Biological Fathers Receive the Same Leave Benefits as Adoptive Parents?

Maybe you saw this article “Standing Up for the Rights of New Fathers,” in the New York Times a few weeks ago about the new dad, a reporter for CNN, who filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC against Time Warner (CNN’s parent) challenging its paid parental leave policy.  The policy gives 10 weeks of…

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