USCIS to Rescind Work Authorization Rule for H-4 Spouses

On December 14, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it is preparing proposed regulations eliminating United States work authorization for certain holders of H-4 visas, a derivative visa classification that permits a member of an H-1B visa holder’s family to accompany him or her to the United States. The authorization in question was…

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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT EFFECTS OF THE STATE BUDGET “IMPLEMENTER”

While several bills were enacted earlier this year affecting Connecticut employers (see our post on them here), the 2017 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly was not the final word. Due to the lack of a budget, the General Assembly had to convene a “special session.”  Finally, in late October, our long state nightmare…

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Paid Family Leave May Be Just Around the Corner

Although the Connecticut General Assembly was not particularly active in employment legislation– perhaps because of the protracted budget crisis– our neighboring State of New York adopted a major new employment entitlement this year: paid family leave. Commencing on January 1, 2018, most employees in New York State will be eligible to receive weekly benefit payments…

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Unpaid Disciplinary Suspensions Require a Careful Reading of Federal and State Law

Counseling and written warnings are common steps employers take to address employee attendance issues (such as habitual tardiness) or performance issues (such as failing to complete assigned work on time). But what if the employer is faced with an employee who engages in serious workplace misconduct, such as sexual harassment or violence? As recent news…

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Employees Have a Right to Complain About Intoxicated Co-Workers

The likely reaction to the title of this article would be: well of course they do. Workplace rules of conduct typically prohibit being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and although the condition of alcoholism might be protected as a disability, anti-discrimination law does not protect intoxication on the job. But the right to…

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AN EARLY HALLOWEEN TRICK FOR CONNECTICUT’S PUBLIC-SECTOR LABOR UNIONS: WILL JANUS V. AFSCME, CO. 31 BE THE END OF THE AGENCY SHOP?

Did Halloween come early this year? Well it just may have for Connecticut’s public-sector unions. On September 28th, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, thus once again agreeing to hear a case that poses the question of whether union agency fee…

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TIME IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE: SEVERSON V. HEARTLAND WOODCRAFT, INC. AND THE LIMITS OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UNDER THE ADA

Although less rare than the recent solar eclipse, common-sense results can be elusive when dealing with workplace discrimination lawsuits. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, however, recently delivered such a decision in the case of Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., in which the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s finding that…

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What Are the Limits of Reasonable Accommodation?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to the known mental or physical limitations of an otherwise qualified individual. The Act defines a qualified individual as someone who, with or without accommodation, “can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.”  Furthermore, the Act defines…

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ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CHANGE COURSE ON RECOGNIZING TRANSGENDER WORKER RIGHTS UNDER TITLE VII

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has advised United States Attorneys across the country as well as federal agency heads that the Justice Department is reversing its prior position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace — protects transgender workers from discrimination. In his…

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What To Expect From a Doctor’s Note

Employees who are absent from work for protracted periods of time due to illness or injury submit various types of medical documentation to their employers. Such documentation does not always provide a definite answer to an employer’s most pressing question; namely, when will the employee return to work?  Instead, the doctor’s notes often indicate only…

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Connecticut Court Declines to Apply Physician Non-Compete Statute Retroactively

A Connecticut superior court recently held that Connecticut’s statute limiting the noncompetition agreements by which Connecticut physicians may be bound, may not be applied retroactively. In the 2016 legislative session, the Connecticut legislature enacted Section 20-14p, which provides, among other things, that a non-competition agreement with a physician may not restrict the physician’s activities for…

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The Regular Rate of Pay May Not Be As Obvious As It Seems

This blog has previously addressed various complications in establishing the regular rate of pay on which the calculation of overtime is based. See our November 21, 2016 post Importance of Establishing An Employee’s Regular Rate of Pay here..   To recap, overtime pay is calculated at the rate of one and one half times an employee’s…

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Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Against Use of Fluctuating Workweek Method in Calculating Overtime Pay for Retail Employees

On August 17, 2017, in Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., the Connecticut Supreme Court invalidated the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime pay for retail employees who are paid in whole or in part by commission.  The effect of this ruling is particularly significant to multi-state retail establishments with Connecticut employees, as the ruling…

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Overtime Update

What happened to the Obama administration’s proposed new rule on employee eligibility for overtime pay?  Seven months into the Trump administration, do we know what to expect?  Recent events provide some clarity on these questions. A year ago, many employers were preparing to implement a new rule adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor, under…

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A Word To The Wise: Castleberry v. STI Group And The Expansion Of Liability For Hostile Work Environments

In David Lynch’s film Dune, a character proclaims that the protagonist “can kill with a word.”  Although not quite as dramatic, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that an employer can violate federal civil rights statutes with a word.  Specifically, in Castleberry v. STI Group, the Third Circuit held…

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