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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Employers: Be aware of the NLRB when Implementing and Enforcing Social Media Policies

Many employers adopt policies that restrict employee internet conduct that could impact the company’s business.  While it is prudent to provide employees with clear rules in this area, employers must be wary of aggressive National Labor Relations Board activity in this arena. The NLRB is specifically targeting nonunion and unionized companies alike for policies and…

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Retirement Plan Sponsors: December Reminders Part I

It’s time to take a short break from all the healthcare changes and focus on your December 1st and 15th deadlines for the following participant notices for calendar year retirement plans: Annual Safe Harbor 401(k) Notice – December 1, 2013 The annual safe harbor notice must be provided to all plan participants at least 30…

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New Regulations to Take Effect on Recruitment of Veterans and Disabled Employees by Federal Contractors

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has announced new regulations that will affect federal contractors’ and subcontractors’ recruiting of veterans and disabled employees.  The new regulations take effect on March 24, 2014, with some exceptions, and have been enacted under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, and Section 503 of…

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