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Category Archives: Litigation

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

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, 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, Highlight, 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

“Consider” This Important: Employment Contracts Are a Two-Way Street

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

My colleague Chris Engler reports today on a new Connecticut Appellate Court case that focuses on a often misunderstood concept in employment contracts — the need for “consideration”.  What was it that Dire Straits’ sang about in the 1980s? Getting “Money for Nothing”? We’ve all been told that you can’t get something for nothing.  That… Continue Reading

Fantasy Football: A Real and Present Danger to the Workplace?

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

A confession first: I’m in a fantasy football league. Actually two of them.  It’s fun and makes weekend football watching a heck of a lot more interesting. But did you know that fantasy football has led to all sorts of real issues in the workplace? Well, longtime readers may remember an incident from five years… Continue Reading

Paper Trail: DOJ Brings Issue of Hiring Documentation to Forefront

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

Late Friday, you might have (ok, I’m sure you did) missed a press release from the United States Department of Justice announcing a settlement with a staffing agency in California. The charge? That a staffing company “discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).” Now, I’m sure you all… Continue Reading

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