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Category Archives: Human Resources (HR) Compliance

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The Year of Religion and the Workplace

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

The law works in mysterious ways.  (Cue the U2 song.) Some years seem to get dominated by a particular type of issue, even though the law has been around for years. This year, it seems as though issues of religion and the workplace are taking center stage. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in… Continue Reading

Cabbie’s Fear of Dogs Doesn’t Trump Requirement to Allow Service Dogs

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation

Back in 2012, I posted about a lawsuit filed by a cab driver who claimed he suffers from cynophobia (a fear of dogs), who was fired after he refused to pick up a blind customer with a service dog.  The cabbie claimed that his termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because he has a disability —… Continue Reading

Less May Be More When It Comes To Job References

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

My colleague Chris Engler returns today with a recap of a new case in Connecticut that is of particular interest to employers who provide (or don’t provide) employment references. We have all heard the admonition that “less is more.” In an opinion that will be released next week, the Connecticut Appellate Court reminds us just… Continue Reading

Will “Fifty Shades of Grey” Launch Fifty Hostile Work Environment Claims?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Social Media

Back in May 2012, I wrote this about a book that was making its way around various book clubs that was dubbed by The New York Times as “Mommy Porn”. [H]aving someone read [Fifty Shades of Grey] alone during a lunch break, by itself, is probably not enough to establish a sexual harassment claim. The fact that it… Continue Reading

Three Observations about the New EEOC Statistics

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

The EEOC released its yearly statistics and it’s interesting to put together a story line from the numbers.  Here are three quick observations from my review of the stats: 1) Big Drop in New Cases: Perhaps not surprisingly given the improving economy, the number of new claims filed with the EEOC dropped by nearly 5000 claims,… Continue Reading

BLIZZARD! Wage and Hour Reminders for Employers on Winter Storm

Posted in Featured, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Wage & Hour

Well, it’s official.  Connecticut is under a Blizzard Warning as of Sunday afternoon. This is, of course, nothing new for employers in the state. We’ve had more than our fair share of big “monster” storms. If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ll have read more than your share of blog posts about… Continue Reading

Updated Paid Sick Leave Guidance and Poster Issued by Connecticut Department of Labor

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour

Somewhat quietly (at least to me), the Connecticut Department of Labor has issued updated guidance regarding compliance with the state’s Paid Sick Leave law. But employers who have been following the developments in this area — namely the changes to the law by the legislature — won’t be surprised much by the minor changes that… Continue Reading

Since You Asked: A Modest Wage & Hour Law Proposal

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Legislative Developments, Wage & Hour

Yesterday on Twitter, a Connecticut legislator posted this: “There oughta be a law…!” Hey Connecticut, legislators have 5 days to submit ideas for bills. What new laws should the #CTLeg consider? — Matt Lesser (@MattLesser) January 12, 2015 State Representative Matt Lesser, be careful what you ask for. But since you asked, here’s a modest… Continue Reading

What is the Mileage Reimbursement Rate for 2015?

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour

For several years, one of the most popular posts on my blog was the one where I listed the mileage reimbursement rate for businesses.  It’s been relatively stable, but this year brings about another small change. In any event, the new rate became effective January 1, 2015. Remember, this is the optional standard mileage rates. These rates… Continue Reading

Workplace Investigator Institute Heading to Connecticut in May 2015

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance

A few years back, I had the opportunity to meet Allison West at a conference out in California.  She runs Employment Practices Specialists and does workplace investigations. (She’s also a terrific speaker and I’d highly recommend you go to a session where she is speaking.) She recently let me know about an Association of Workplace Investigators… Continue Reading

A Look Ahead: Connecticut’s Minimum Wage Rockets Upward

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Wage & Hour

On New Year’s Day, I had the opportunity to launch model rockets with my son on a gorgeous (but very cold) day. As it turns out, it was also a windy day.  We discovered this through launching two rockets super high — only to see them carried away deep into the woods a mile away…. Continue Reading

A Look Ahead: Three Bold Predictions in Employment Law for 2015

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NLRB, Laws and Regulations

Every year, I break out a crystal ball, or a magic 8-ball, or some tea leaves, and make some pronouncement about what will happen in the upcoming year. It’s sort of a no-lose proposition. If I’m right, well, then I pat myself on the back. If I’m wrong, well, it’s just an educated guess. So,… Continue Reading

A Look Ahead: Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Legislative Developments, Wage & Hour

With 2014 coming to a close, it’s time to look ahead at some of the issues that we’re likely to see discussed in 2015. One such issue is a Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program in Connecticut.  The origins of this come from a 2013 special act which created a task force to study the… Continue Reading

Three Times When You Should Call an Employment Lawyer

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

Suzanne Lucas, who writes under the moniker of the “Evil HR Lady” (and who is anything BUT evil), recently released a post about when an individual should hire an employment attorney. She cites to another good lawyer/blogger — Chris McKinney — who also posted on the subject from an employee’s perspective. But suppose you own or… Continue Reading

Connecticut Court: Perceived Disability Claims May Proceed Under State Law

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

My colleague, Jarad Lucan, returns today with a post discussing a new Connecticut Supreme Court case that has expanded the state’s anti-discrimination laws when it comes to disability claims.  When Congress enacted the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), it recognized that fears, misperceptions, and stereotypes about disabled individuals are so pervasive that employment discrimination reaches… Continue Reading

NLRB and the “Purple” Crayon: NLRB Rewrites Its Decision on Employer E-mail

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NLRB, Litigation

The NLRB, right now, is union-friendly. We know it. Employers know it. Politicians know it. The unions know it. It’s stacked 3-2 with Democrat appointees so the NLRB taking its training wheels off and is doing what it has always done. It has shifted its decisions based on the politics. Yesterday represented just the latest… Continue Reading

The “Association” Game: How a Spouse’s Cancer May be Covered by the ADA

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

Last week, we talked about an employer’s obligations when it comes to an employee who has cancer. But what about an employee’s spouse? Does the employer have any legal obligations there? Let’s start first with a story: Jake and his supervisor, Alex, have had a great working relationship but lately, things seems to have changed. At least… Continue Reading

Who Needs Santa? All I Want for Christmas is a Visit From OSHA

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

My colleague, Marc Herman, returns today with a holiday-themed post filled with — workplace safety issues? Read on. Holiday season shopping . . . the home to nostalgic tunes, perpetual lines, frenzied bargain hunters, overflowing parking lots, and OSHA. For those who can’t remember your government acronyms, it’s the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and… Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Employees Need Not Be Paid For Post-Shift Security Checks

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Wage & Hour

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules on an issue in a 9-0 fashion — with a decision penned by Justice Thomas, no less — you can fairly conclude that the issue is not all that difficult. Indeed, the SCOTUSBlog summed up the employment law decision today pretty succinctly: Workers who are required to stay after their… Continue Reading

Court: Breach of Anti-Harassment Policy in Company Handbook — Titled “Employee Agreement” — Can Be a Viable Claim Without Disclaimer

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

I’ve talked many times before about the importance of a well-drafted disclaimer in your employee handbook (here and here, for example). This is not a new thing and in Connecticut dates back to an important case back in 1995 . Without such disclaimers, employers can be subject to a breach of contract claim by your employees. Yesterday, a… Continue Reading

Cancer and the Workplace: Tips for Employers

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Last week, I shared my family’s personal story about how cancer has impacted us.  With that in mind, I thought I would share a few tips for employers.  Even if you don’t presently have an issue with an employee, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with some of the… Continue Reading

Three Times a Charm

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

Today, my colleague Marc Herman writes a follow up to his post on October 27th regarding wellness programs. Continuing its publically waged war against wellness programs, the EEOC has, once again, dragged another employer into the litigation minefield of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This time, Honeywell, Inc.––a Minnesota-based technology manufacturer––has, excuse the pun, got… Continue Reading

Background Check Settlements Still Costing Employers Big Dollars

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

My colleague Peter Murphy and I have been talking a lot about background checks lately.  It’s easier than ever to run a basic Internet search on someone, but what information do you find? And are there any limts? Today, Peter talks about two recent settlements of background check claims against employers. Both cost the employers… Continue Reading

Willful Misconduct and Unemployment Compensation: The Quiz (Part 2)

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour

In yesterday’s post, my colleague Chris Engler discussed the “wilful” misconduct standard and how it applies when your employee is otherwise eligible to receive unemployment compensation. Today, Chris returns and has a quick quiz to review some recent cases of how this standard has been applied. So, you think you know what the “wilful” misconduct… Continue Reading