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Category Archives: Litigation

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Quick Hits: EEOC Strikes Again, Desk Shenanigans, New Executive Order, Union Dues, Sharing Salary Info

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Labor Law & NRLB, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Time for another installment of quick hits where I share a few stories that I had hoped to write further about and finally concede that, because of time limitations, I probably won’t. So, you settle a discrimination case with the EEOC.  You’re done, right? Well, not exactly, as this post from the Workplace Class Action… Continue Reading

Accommodating Employees’ Religious Beliefs: A Primer on “Sincerely Held”

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

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides protection to closely held corporations to refuse, for religious reasons, to provide birth control methods and services to employees under the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, the issue of accommodating an employee’s religious beliefs has… Continue Reading

Law Tribune’s Editorial on “Downright Coercive” Employment Arbitration Clauses Is Off-Base

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

It’s hard to read the Connecticut Law Tribune’s Editorial this week on “The Problem of Workplace Arbitration Clauses” with a straight face. It is dripping with sarcasm, filled with sweeping generalities, and reserves its greatest enmity for employers and the lawyers that represent them. If the editorial is to be believed, employers and their lawyers apparently routinely use “deceptive”… Continue Reading

Telling Employee He Is “Eligible” For Bonus Not Enough to Create Contractual Obligation

Posted in Highlight, Litigation

Back from a long holiday weekend, my colleague Chris Parkin this morning takes a look at a new Connecticut Appellate Court case about employee compensation.   A new case that will be officially released tomorrow reminds employers to take care with their words and promises when it comes to employee compensation. The facts of the case… Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s Narrow Rulings Leave Questions for Connecticut Employers

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

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning came out with two controversial decisions that will impact employers in Connecticut. The first one, Harris v. Quinn, dealt with whether non-union public employees could be forced to pay union dues.  The court issued a relatively narrow holding, ruling that “partial” public employees could not be required to do so. … Continue Reading

You Be The “Judge”: Is Swearing at Work Protected by Federal Law?

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

Let’s try something a little new today: I’ll give you some facts and see if you can pick the result that a court or agency found. (Hat tip to Overlawyered for highlighting some of these issues.)  I’ll give you the lesson learned from these cases at the end. Used Car Salesman Loses Temper 1.  Nick… Continue Reading

For Connecticut Employers, First Amendment Case Will Have a Small Impact

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

Much will be written about the new First Amendment free-speech-in-the-workplace case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court today. But frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them say nearly the same thing — that testimony by an employee who has been subpoenaed outside the course of his or her job responsibilities is now protected… Continue Reading

Court: Contract That Allows Employer to Raise Employee’s Salary Also Means No Decreases

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

So, remember back in February where I noted that employers ought to “consider having an attorney review some of your [employment] agreements … [because sometimes,] poor drafting can sometimes be avoided by having an attorney involved”? We have another appellate court case that emphasizes that point quiet well in Stratford v. Winterbottom. The case involves a town… Continue Reading

Wait, “Inflexible” Leave Policies Are Actually Okay? Sometimes.

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

So last month we talked about how an employer may, in some circumstances, need to give additional leave as an accommodation above and beyond the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Today, my colleague Clarisse Thomas shows how the law in this area really is still developing.  She highlights a new case that comes to a different… Continue Reading

From the Archives: Be Specific In Sending an Issue to Labor Arbitration

Posted in Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation

As I’ve done in the past when I’ve been tied up with a trial or arbitration, today will bring a “Blast from the Past” — a post that you might have missed the first time around. Indeed, because this post is from July 2008, odds are that even if you saw it, it’ll still be fresh today. … Continue Reading

Can Employers Win a Case Where a Single Use of the N-Word Is Alleged? Perhaps

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

There are a few words in our language that still have the ability to shock and hurt others.  The N-word is one of them. (I’ll use it sparingly here but note that courts use the actual language in court opinions too; for courts, accuracy is important.) Frankly, it’s not a word that pops up in a lot of… Continue Reading

Wage Claim Is Not a Unfair Trade Practices Claim Too, Rules Court

Posted in Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Management-side lawyers like myself like to joke that a former employee can sometimes sue any employer for any reason at any time. It’s not true, of course, but at times it feels like there is no limit to the creativity of lawyers filing claims against employers. One such tactic was recently rejected by the federal… Continue Reading

Has IBM Found a Way Around the OWBPA and Should Others Follow?

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

Last week, a story caught my eye and the attention of some of my colleagues.  As reported first by Bloomberg BNA, IBM has stopped providing the comparison information that is typically required in separation agreements for older workers under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. You may be wondering how that is possible.  Robin Shea,… Continue Reading

Split of Authority Develops on Issue of Judicial Approval for FLSA Settlements

Posted in Class Actions, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Your former employee files suit against your company in federal court in Connecticut claiming that she is entitled to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.   You go to a settlement conference before a magistrate judge. After a few hours of back and forth negotiation, you reach a settlement with the ex-employee. Is judicial approval of the… Continue Reading

First Amendment and the Workplace: An Update from “Where We Live”

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

This morning, I had the pleasure of visiting again with John Dankosky on his WNPR show, Where We Live.  Much of the discussion on the show revolved around a pending U.S. Supreme Court case, Lane v. Franks.I haven’t discussed that case on the blog yet, because we’re still waiting for the court’s opinion, but it’s worth a  quick note.  The court held argument… Continue Reading

CTDOL’s Interpretation of Travel Time Not “Reasonable”; What Happens Next?

Posted in Highlight, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Wage & Hour

So if last Tuesday’s post about the latest Connecticut Supreme Court decision on travel time was for employers, this post is for the ones who love the nuances of the law. Dan Klau on his Appealingly Brief blog did a deep dive into the decision. And it wasn’t pretty. The issue Dan highlights is this:… Continue Reading

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Fallout From Allowing Excessive Absences

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

Today my colleague Chris Engler returns with a post that tackles a recent case that explores what should happen when an employee has exhausted her FMLA leave.  Case closed? Well, not exactly, as Chris explains.   Most readers have heard the admonition that “No good deed goes unpunished.”  (Readers might be less aware that the… Continue Reading

Driving With A Headache: Commuting Time With Tools Not Compensable, Connecticut Court Rules

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

In a decision officially released today, the Connecticut Supreme Court (Sarrazin v. Coastal, Inc.) has concluded that a plumbing foreman who carried his tools to and from work was not entitled to be compensated for his commuting time. That’s about the only simple thing about the decision for employers. The case addresses complicated and head-spinning issues such as pre-emption,… Continue Reading

Road Rules: Ruling Now Guides Telecommuting As Reasonable Accommodation Discussion

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

My colleague, Gabe Jiran predicted the future! Well, not exactly. But in a post earlier this month, he outlined some of the issues relating to whether telecommuting is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. And now we have some court guidance on the subject.  The road to understanding an aspect of the “reasonable accommodation” is… Continue Reading

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