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Category Archives: Litigation

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When Do Volunteers Become “Employees” Under Anti-Discrimination Laws?

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

Having this blog for nearly eight years, it’s fair to say that I’ve covered quite a few topics. But every once in a while, a never-before-discussed issue makes it way to the forefront. Today is one of those days. My colleague, Gary Starr, has a post today about a recent Connecticut Appellate Court decision (CHRO v…. Continue Reading

“Just Give Me a Reason” Not Enough to Satisfy Just Cause Provision

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

I’m a big P!nk (yes, the exclamation point) fan. One of her most recent hits, is a song “Just Give Me A Reason”. Somehow, reading a new Appellate Court case that will be officially released tomorrow, this song title kept sticking in my brain. The case, Madigan v. Housing Authority of East Hartford (download here), revolves… Continue Reading

What Connecticut Employers Need To Know About Young v. UPS

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided one of the most anticipated cases in the court’s docket this year — at least for employment lawyers — in Young v. UPS.  There’s been lots of bytes uploaded talking about the case from a federal level.  Much of it is straightforward — in the sense that everyone… Continue Reading

In Employment Litigation, the Best Defense is a Good Defense

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

It’s a busy week in employment law. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court case decided Young v. UPS — a case about pregnancy discrimination. I’ll have more on that case in an upcoming post (in the meantime, check out Jon Hyman’s post on the subject). But in today’s post, my colleague Chris Engler talks about a… Continue Reading

Free Speech in the Workplace Gets Another Day in Court

Posted in Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Tomorrow, the Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trusz v. UBS. It’s case I’ve mentioned before and even made a prediction about the case back at the start of the year. I’m not going to discuss it in detail because I and my colleagues here at the firm wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Connecticut… Continue Reading

Consistency in Arguments is Key for Labor Arbitrations

Posted in Labor Law & NLRB, Litigation

My colleague, Jarad Lucan, returns today to recap a notable labor case that the Connecticut Appellate court decided this week (but officially released on March 24, 2015).  It’s worth a read, even for non-union types, if only to show the importance of consistency in arguments. A recent Appellate Court case, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Council 4, Local… Continue Reading

Connecticut Law May Force Employer to Transfer Pregnant Employee

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

So, in yesterday’s post, I alerted you to a portion of the state’s pregnancy discrimination law that you may not have been aware of, namely Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-60(a)(7)(E).  If you haven’t read it yet, I’d suggest you do so for background for today’s post. But after yesterday’s post, you may be wondering, is this… Continue Reading

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

New Retaliation Standard of Proof Shows Its Teeth

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

When the U.S. Supreme Court changed the standard for proving retaliation cases back in 2013, there was some speculation as to whether the standard would result in different decisions. Before the court’s decision, employees who claimed they were retaliated against, needed to show only that the retaliatory motive was a “substantial or motivating fact” affecting… Continue Reading

Name that Party When Represented by Counsel, Says the Court

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Highlight, Litigation

What’s in a name? To a recent Superior Court decision, everything. But only if you have been represented by counsel. Confused? Let’s backup for a second. A prerequisite to filing a discrimination claim in state court is that the employee file the same claim before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.  This includes, in… Continue Reading

A Look Ahead: Three (More) Bold Predictions in Connecticut Employment Law in 2015

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Having tackled the predictions in employment law on a federal level, what does the future hold for employers in Connecticut? Besides a debate on Family & Medical Leave Insurance, there are a few things we’re likely to see. 1. New bills at the General Assembly: The first one comes courtesy of Mara Lee over at… 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

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

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

Not Every Action By Employers Can Be the Basis of a Lawsuit

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

My colleague, Jarad Lucan, returns today with a primer on what it takes to establish a “prima facie” case of discrimination — the bare minimum to get the case to be considered by a court.  Today, we focus on the third element — the “adverse employment action”. What is that, you ask? Read on. If… Continue Reading

No Right to Jury for Discrimination Claims Against State, Court Says

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

My colleague, Chris Engler, joins us again with a post today about whether or not a jury trial is required for certain employment law claims.  I’ll have a full recap of my presentations on data privacy in an upcoming post soon. While many of us spent last weekend celebrating Columbus Day, our neighbors to the north… Continue Reading

Opt In or Opt Out or Both? Collective and Class Actions in Wage & Hour Cases

Posted in Class Actions, Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

A limo driver believes that he should be paid overtime.  He brings a lawsuit on both state and federal wage & hour laws.  But he believes that other similarly situated drivers should also be part of his lawsuit. How does that happen? Well, he asks the court to represent all the other drivers as well…. Continue Reading

Are You a Joint Employer? It May Depend on the Court’s Test

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

Can an employee work for more than one employer at the same time? Under a theory of law called “joint employment”, the answer is yes. But how do you make that determination? Suppose a private bus company provides services all over Connecticut. It’s largest customer happens to be a very large private university in the state. The… Continue Reading

Can an Employer Ever Win at the CHRO?

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

I sometimes lament that employers get the short end of the stick when it comes to matters before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.  There’s little doubt, as I’ve said before, that more cases are being retained for investigation. But what happens after an investigation has concluded that there is “reasonable cause” to believe that discrimination occurred?… Continue Reading

Followup: Court Dismisses EEOC Lawsuit Challenging CVS Separation Agreement

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

Back in February, I talked about how a lawsuit brought by the EEOC against CVS challenging the company’s standard separation agreement could be a big deal “if the EEOC prevails”. But I cautioned about drawing any sweeping conclusions just then stating: “My gut tells me that the courts are not likely to view the government’s arguments with favor…. Continue Reading