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Category Archives: Litigation

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Will “Microaggressions” Make Their Way Into Employment Discrimination Cases? Have They Already?

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

Over the last few months, I’ve seen an increasing number of articles start highlighting an issue that has been percolating at college campuses: The theory of “Microaggression”. Not familiar with the term? The New York Times has recently written about the term become the “word du jour”: A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin…. Continue Reading

SOX Stake Claim in Winning … a Whistleblower Protection Case (Revisited)

Posted in Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

It’s Baseball Season; a time for the Sox to come out and play. Not the Red Sox — this is, after all, a legal blog (run by a Yankees fan, no less).  No, today, we’re talking about Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Whistleblower Protection. Still with us.  My colleague, Clarisse Thomas, has taken a look back at the U.S…. Continue Reading

Final Four Madness: Preparation Still Matters To Win On (or In) The Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Over the weekend, I asked my colleague, Chris Engler, to think of any employment law lessons that could be divined from the victories of the UConn Men’s Basketball team.  He reminds us in the post below that preparation still matters.  Of course, this isn’t the first time this blog has written about the UConn Huskies (see… Continue Reading

Another March Madness: What Yesterday’s Decision Really Means For Student Athletes

Posted in Class Actions, Highlight, Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation

Late yesterday, Twitter lit up with news that collegiate student athletes are really “employees”.  But beyond the headline, my colleague Jarad Lucan explains what REALLY happened in plain English. Suffice to say, even though it’s March Madness, you might not want to bet on that result just yet. Many of you may remember a few… Continue Reading

Up is Down and Outside is Inside? With FMLA, Not Quite Common Sense

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

Today, my colleague Christopher Engler, takes a crack at explaining what happens with FMLA leave when an employee takes works at another job while on FMLA leave.  As Chris explains, not everything about the statute is “common sense.”  Picture this: In one scenario, a maintenance worker takes an FMLA leave for “mental distress” but continues to deliver oil… Continue Reading

Background Check Documentation (Printed and Online) Under Renewed Scrutiny

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

If you’re like most employers that do background checks, you probably haven’t thought twice about the documentation you use for it. Perhaps you’ve copied some standard language you’ve found off the Internet (not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that), or maybe you’ve just used a form that has been handed down from one… Continue Reading

Continuing to Challenge Whether An Employee Has a “Disability” Under ADAAA

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Laws and Regulations, Litigation

When the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) passed Congress in 2008 (remember when Congress used to pass employment laws??), one of the most talked about changes was that Congress declared that the question of whether an individual’s impairment was a “disability” should not require “extensive analysis.” It was thought by some at the time,… Continue Reading

EEOC’s Lawsuit Challenging CVS Separation Agreements Is a Big Deal

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

My good friend, Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, probably said it best this morning: I try to shy away from hyperbole, but OH MY GOD, THIS CASE COULD BE RUINOUS!!! Yeah, pretty much. So, if you — like me — have been tied up with day-to-day affairs for a bit, or thinking how tomorrow’s snowstorm… Continue Reading

Donning, Doffing and “Changing Clothes”: Supreme Court Says When Employees Get Paid

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

Raise your hand if you know what “Donning and Doffing” is? To those that have raised your hand, you are most likely: a) an employment lawyer; b) a Scrabble nerd; or c) not being honest with yourself. It’s just not a phrase anyone uses in real life — like a “snood” (I’ll get to the… Continue Reading

Why A-Rod Will Strikeout on His Appeal and What Employers Can Learn

Posted in Class Actions, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation

Readers of this blog will no doubt notice (in posts here, here, here and here, for example) that my passion for employment law is matched only by my love of the New York Yankees.  (I leave to others to debate whether that is a character flaw; Red Sox fans need not chime in, however.) The story over the… Continue Reading

What Happens in a “He Said/She Said” Case? A Trial

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Every week or two, the federal court in Connecticut is asked to decide a motion for summary judgment in a discrimination case.  I’ve yet to discuss what these motions are in detail on this blog, but a recent federal case in Connecticut provides a good learning example. To simplify (drastically?) a federal court case in… Continue Reading

Settlement Agreement Provisions To Consider When Settling Discrimination Claims

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

A few days ago, I came across a thoughtful post from Work Matters, a longtime blog run by Michael Maslanka. In it, Mike describes a clause in a settlement agreement to get around an issue that sometimes arises — how do you minimize the threat of an EEOC claim when the EEOC has taken the… Continue Reading

“D.R. Horton” Ruling by NLRB Gets Overturned; Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Are Alive (and Well?)

Posted in Class Actions, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (which does not include Connecticut) held on Tuesday that the NLRB erred in disallowing an employer’s mandatory arbitration agreement that waived the rights of employees to participate in class actions. The decision in D.R. Horton v. NLRB (download here from Bloomberg Law) has… Continue Reading

Quick Hits: Starbucks Tip Policy, E-Cigarettes, Sniffing Employees, Female Bosses, USDOL, Thanksgivukkah

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Wage & Hour

With Hanukkah tonight, and Thanksgiving tomorrow, (or “Thanksgivukkah” as some have called it humorously),  here are a few morsels of employment law information to get you started. Last week, the Second Circuit upheld Starbucks’ Tip Policy.  While the Second Circuit does cover Connecticut, the issue it had to decide was based on New York Labor Law. … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Upholds Summary Judgment for Employer

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Not every case that comes out from the Connecticut Appellate Court makes headlines. Take the case of Walker v. Department of Children & Families, a new case that will be officially released next week (download here). It is a fairly ordinary discrimination case — albeit a rare one where the employer has been successful on… Continue Reading

[Updated] Discovery Protocols in Employment Cases Are Here to Stay in Federal Court

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

UPDATED 11/22/13, 3p Earlier this week, members of the CBA’s Federal Practice Section were informed that the Initial Discovery Protocols in Employment Cases are now being used by all the judges in the district. As such, lawyers and clients should now expect to deal with them in various types of discrimination cases filed in federal court… Continue Reading

First Amendment Retaliation Claims Remain Alive (and Well?)

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Uncategorized, Wage & Hour

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti several years ago, there was a lot of chatter about whether public employees still had substantive First Amendment free speech rights. And for a short while, the trend did seem to indicate that speech that related to an employee’s “official job duties” was to be construed broadly and that… Continue Reading

The Latest in Dress Codes Before You Get Dressed Down

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

My colleague, Peter Murphy, penned a great article in this week’s Connecticut Law Tribune discussing the uptick in cases challenging dress codes. His conclusion? As these cases demonstrate, employers remain free to establish dress codes or appearance standards that are appropriate for the nature of their business — whether chinos and golf shirts at Best Buy… Continue Reading

State Officials Ask Supreme Court to Rule on Constitutionality of 2002 Layoffs

Posted in Class Actions, Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation

Last Friday, lawyers representing two government officials petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments over whether former a 2002 state decision to layoff only union personnel violated those employee’s constitutional rights. Back in June 2013, you may recall that the Second Circuit ruled that such layoffs did violate the right of association.  I’ve discussed the… Continue Reading

Quick Hits: Carnivals, Trade Secrets, Interactive Process, Taxes and Arbitration

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Busy week here.  So, it’s time to bring back a recurring post of “Quick Hits” of articles you may have missed along the way.  Here are some of my recent favorites: First, the October Employment Law Blog Carnival is up with a Halloween theme. Lots of great employment law articles for you to choose from…. Continue Reading

State Moves to Dismiss Shelton’s Challenge of CHRO’s Damage Awards

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Litigation

Back in August 2012, I reported on a new lawsuit filed by the Town of Shelton which claimed that the CHRO was improperly denying Shelton its Due Process Rights by not allowing a federal jury trial on related federal claims and by not providing for discovery.  Ultimately, it challenges Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-58 under the Supremacy… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Leaves Some FLSA Issues Up For Grabs

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

A reminder: Employees are entitled to overtime for work over 40 hours a week, unless an exemption applies. For so-called white collar workers, there are three main exemptions: administrative, professional and executive.  Each of these categories looks at whether the employee had certain covered “duties” (known as the “duties” test) and a minimum guaranteed weekly… Continue Reading

Ambiguity from State Agency Not Enough to Justify Tolling of Statute of Limitations

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Statute of limitations — or, in plain English, the deadline to file a lawsuit — are sometimes able to be used by employers when employees and their counsel file their employment law claims late. But a recent federal court decision in Connecticut had to look at a fairly novel issue: Did the CHRO mislead the employee’s attorney… Continue Reading

What Happens AFTER a Remand from the Appellate Court?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Last year, I posted about a disability discrimination that was remanded, in part, back to the Superior Court level.   Would this result in at least a partial victory for the employer?  And more importantly, what would happen on a remand to the lower court? I noted back then the Court did uphold “most of a $500K+… Continue Reading