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Category Archives: Litigation

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Ch-Ch-Changes? Mandatory Fees for Public Employees At Issue Before the Supreme Court

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

First things first. My favorite David Bowie song is “Heroes” (though I remember really being struck by its use in the 2001 movie, Moulin Rouge). But the Bowie song that comes to mind today for various reasons is “Changes” and how it ties into another big story of the day — an oral argument before… Continue Reading

Win Some, Lose Some: Drug Testing Statutes Tricky to Navigate

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

Connecticut’s drug testing statutes applicable to employers have always been a bit tricky to follow.  I covered the basics of these laws back in 2010 (you’ve been reading that long, right?). For job applicants, employers must follow certain rules. Once an applicant becomes an employee, a new set of more stringent rules apply. But to… Continue Reading

Anonymous Threats in Workplace Don’t Give Employers Free Pass to Ignore

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

As I return from an extended absence for the Thanksgiving holiday, my colleagues Gary Starr and Gabe Jiran share this alert about anonymous threats in the workplace based on a recent Circuit Court decision.  Employee complaints based on anonymous harassment pose special problems for employers.  How do you uncover the source of the problem when… Continue Reading

When Employee Models for Playgirl, Harassment May Be “Because of Sex”

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Late last month, a federal court in Connecticut took another look at the prohibition of discrimination “because of sex” with a case that has all the elements of a “can you believe it” fact-pattern that will surely be used for harassment training going forward. The case involves a male employee posed for Playgirl nearly two decades… Continue Reading

When Parent Has Been Unlawfully Fired, Can Kids Sue Employer? Court Overrules Precedent

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

The Connecticut Law Tribune reported earlier this month on a new Connecticut Supreme Court case that, for the first time, allowed claims brought by kids to proceed based on injuries suffered by their parents. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have a new weapon in their arsenal. The state Supreme Court, in a split decision, has ruled that Connecticut… Continue Reading

Despite Ruling, Free Speech Statute Continues To Offers Some Defenses

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

In two prior posts this week here and here, I talked about the significance of a new Connecticut Supreme Court case that has expanded the free speech rights of employees in the workplace. For more on the case itself, check out these articles from the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Law Tribune But do employers… Continue Reading

Expanding Employee Free Speech Rights: How Bad Is the Court’s Decision for Employers?

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

In yesterday’s post, I alerted you to a new Connecticut Supreme Court decision (Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors, LLC) that expanded employee free speech rights under the Connecticut Constitution. But I wanted some time to think about the answer to the following question: How much did the court expand it? And to that question, there… Continue Reading

BREAKING: Connecticut Supreme Court Expands Employee Free Speech Claims

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

In an unanimous decision that was released late this morning, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the limits to free speech limits established by the U.S. Supreme Court in its Garcetti decision — namely that speech pursuant to an employee’s official job duties was not protected — did not apply to claims brought under the Connecticut… Continue Reading

Eight Years Later: Three Big Changes in Employment Law

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

2007 seems like yesterday. And yet, eight years after I started this blog and over 1800 posts later (and a Hall of Fame entry), I’m pretty sure 2007 WASN’T yesterday. So for this year’s anniversary post, I thought I would capture what I think are some of the biggest storylines from the last eight years. … Continue Reading

Impact of NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision in Connecticut Still To Be Determined

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

My colleague, Jarad Lucan, who has been busy with his own labor cases, today returns with post about the latest from the NLRB.  There are many posts out there on the subject (here, here, and here, for example), so Jarad is going to touch on its impact for Connecticut employers.   As you’ve no doubt… Continue Reading

CHRO Right to Sue Letter Enough to Bring Federal Discrimination Claims to Court

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

In catching up over some interesting employment law cases from 2015, I came across Lennon v. Dolce Vida Medical Spa (download here).  You would be forgiven if you missed it because it’s an unreported Superior Court decision on a seemingly-technical issue. But, if followed by other courts, it has a notable twist. First, the simple… Continue Reading

The Real Battle over Independent Contractors and the ABC Test In Connecticut

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

You’ve no doubt heard lots about how the U.S. Department of Labor is cracking down on independent contractors.  I’ve recapped it before and my former colleague, Jonathan Orleans, has a new post regarding Uber & electricians. But in my view, there is a larger, more important battle now being fought in Connecticut and you may… Continue Reading

Implicit Bias: Is Expert Testimony Admissible in Discrimination Cases?

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

So yesterday, I said that while the topic of implicit bias was important to understand, I indicated that it was far from settled in the legal context. One recent case demonstrates why. The plaintiffs in an age discrimination case in Pittsburgh attempted to introduce testimony from Dr. Anthony G. Greenwald, who has developed the “Implicit… Continue Reading

The “Number Two” Reason on How to Avoid GINA Liability

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

My colleague, Marc Herman, returns today to talk about a subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention but may as the technology makes genetic information more accessible.  But just because it’s more accessible, doesn’t make it right. Particularly if you suspect something “smelly” in your workplace.  It’s not often that it comes up, but… Continue Reading

Can Employee Display a Confederate Flag on Facebook as Free Speech? Or Can Employer Take Action?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

There’s been lots of talk lately about the Confederate flag and its symbolism in the aftermath of the Charleston shootings. But I wondered: How has this flag come up in the context of employment discrimination cases? It’s actually referenced a bunch according to a quick search by Google.  A case out of Alabama alleged a… Continue Reading

Revisiting Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA — Being “Effective”

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

What does it really mean to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who has a disability? That’s a question I talk about a bunch with clients.  The employee may request one thing but the employer may think that another accommodation can accomplish close to the same thing, perhaps at a lower cost.  Who wins?… Continue Reading

Can You Still Have Dress Codes After Abercrombie Decision?

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

I’m not a fan of click-bait, so if you clicked the headline just to know whether your company can still have a dress code policy after the Supreme Court’s decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, the answer is “yes”. But there’s an important caveat and for that, you’ll need to read on. The Court’s… Continue Reading

BREAKING – U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Motive, Not Knowledge, Is Critical in Disparate Treatment Cases

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

The long-awaited EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch case was released by the U.S. Supreme Court this morning, reversing the Tenth Circuit’s decision. You can download it here. For anyone following the case, the decision shouldn’t come as a big surprise.  I’ve talked about the case before here and here. The main holding of the case… Continue Reading

No Specific Statute Cited in a Pleading? No Problem, Says the Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

It is commonly understood that Connecticut is mainly a “fact-pleading” state when it comes to the court system. What does that mean? Well, Norm Pattis, in a 2013 Law Tribune column, described the significance in calling for the state to change the way plaintiffs file their lawsuits. You recall the distinction, don’t you, between notice… Continue Reading

Punitive Damages Not Authorized for State Employment Discrimination Claims, Says Court

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

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the case of Tomick v. UPS in looking at the prima facie case for disability discrimination. But the new Appellate Court case may be even more significant for its discussion of punitive damages.  In doing so, the Appellate Court attempts to resolve a split that had developed at the… Continue Reading

Being “Qualified” Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Being Able to Perform “Essential Functions” of Job

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Back in September 2013, I reported on a seemingly never-ending case of Tomick v. UPS and mentioned that it was headed to its second appeal at the Connecticut Appellate Court. (I talked about the history of the case and the first appeal back in 2012 too.  Amazingly, it dates to a termination decision way back… Continue Reading

Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Supreme Court’s Decision on Conciliation a Yawn for Connecticut Employers

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

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EEOC has a duty to conciliate that has go a bit beyond words before filing suit as a party.  In the case, EEOC v. Mach Mining (download here), the employer argued that the EEOC cannot just say that it has tried to resolve the matter through conciliation;… Continue Reading

When Reviewing a Reinstatement Decision by an Arbitrator, Consider Over a Dozen Factors

Posted in Highlight, Labor Law & NLRB, Litigation

If you like getting lost on roads with your head spinning on which way to go, this is your post.  (Everyone else, well, try to keep up.) I recap a case for companies with unions to pay attention to. Let’s start with this example: Employee X is required by law to report suspected abuse in her job. She fails… Continue Reading

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