Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

Tag Archives: federal court

President Signs New Federal Trade Secrets Act; Added Protection for Employers

Posted in Highlight, Laws and Regulations

Yesterday, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act — a broad federal law designed to give companies added protection.  It does not circumvent state law — indeed, where a state law is more protective of the trade secret, it still applies. Nevertheless, it provides a base level of uniformity nationwide. My colleagues, Pat Fahey… 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

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

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

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

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

[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

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

Black Swans and Trojan Horses: Why That Internship Program May Not Be Legal

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

Last week, a federal judge in New York ruled that unpaid interns on the movie “Black Swan” should have been paid for their work, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). You can download the decision in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight here.  The court relied on the six factors that have been outlined by the… Continue Reading

More Litigation, More “Doing” Assistant Store Manager Overtime Cases

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

At 47 pages, U.S. District Court Judge Hall’s decision last week in Costello v. Home Depot USA (download here) denying an employer’s motion for summary judgment in an overtime case, isn’t exactly a light read.  She is, of course, not to blame. The case is complicated and has a “somewhat convoluted procedural history” because it was first filed… Continue Reading

Gender Inequality Claims Make Headlines in Case and in New Study

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

Over the last week, two unrelated stories caught my eye.  For employers, they are a reminder that claims of pay inequality based on gender are still something to be concerned about.  The first story is that Governor Malloy announced plans for a new study to examine “factors that contribute to the gender wage gap in Connecticut’s workforce.” … Continue Reading

Court Reviews What Type of Job Search is Required of Terminated Employee

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

In the five plus years of this blog, it’s rare to find topics that I haven’t covered, at least minimally. One such topic, though, is the notion of “mitigation of damages”.  It is a concept found in lots of cases, but it has particular importance in employment discrimination cases. An employee who claims he (or she)… Continue Reading

From the Archives: My Very First Post on Chambers Practices

Posted in Litigation

Nearly five years ago, I posted my very first post on this site. It’s still relevant today.  In it, I discussed how each federal judge publishes a “Chambers Practices” that can give you insight into how judges treat certain cases.  For example, wouldn’t it be helpful to know which judge indicated that he “rarely grants motions… Continue Reading

From the Archives: Does “Book of Poop” Create a Hostile Work Environment?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

As we continue a look back this week at some older posts, who could forget this classic post from April 2008. In it, I answer the burning question: Is putting a toilet training book, such as  “The Book of Poop”, on a disabled co-worker’s desk sufficient to create a Hostile Work Environment? And what happens… Continue Reading

Adverse Employment Action Required to Show Discrimination, At Least in Connecticut

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment

This morning, Jon Hyman over at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, reported on a 6th Circuit decision that suggested that an employment discrimination claim could survive even in the absence of a jury finding an “adverse employment action.” Yesterday, a District Court decision in Connecticut said exactly the opposite.  Indeed, the court granted an employer’s… Continue Reading

Offer of Judgment by Employer Renders Employment Claim “Moot”

Posted in Class Actions, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Suppose you’re an employer who has been served with a wage & hour claim.  Rather than fight the claim, you decide to give in. You file an Offer of Judgment (under Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, if you’re keeping track at home) and offer to provide the employee with more than the… Continue Reading

Post Revisited: Chambers Practices of Federal Judges Online

Posted in Litigation

Continuing my occasional series of revisiting posts I’ve done over the last (nearly) five years, I look back to one I did during the first month of blogging. In a post on September 14, 2007, I looked at an online resource often overlooked — the chambers practices of federal judges which is found on the… Continue Reading

“Linsanity” for Employers to Fail to Post Required Notices

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

Employers in Connecticut (and other states) have a whole host of notices that must go up in a common meeting area for employees to see. But what happens when an employer forgets to do the postings, or, worse, purposely avoids putting those posters up?  A recent federal case in Connecticut addresses that question with important… Continue Reading

Summary Judgment For Tunxis Community College On Claims of Gender Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

As I’ve lamented from my very first post, too often the press focuses on new cases that are brought without placing them in context. Yet every month, federal and state courts in Connecticut consider dozens of employment law cases that never make the headlines. One such case is Jacobs v. Connecticut Community Technical Colleges, decided… Continue Reading

Court Allows First Amendment Retaliation Claim to Proceed To Trial

Posted in Litigation

Last year, I talked about a First Amendment retaliation case and noted the difficulties in defending against such claims.  A new case out of the federal court in Connecticut last week highlights the those difficulties even further. In Brown v. Waterbury Board of Ed. (download here), the Plaintiff, a custodian for the Waterbury Board of… Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Employment Claim After Concluding Employee Committed Perjury During Trial

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

It’s the stuff of television shows.   In the middle of trial, a plaintiff (who is claiming his employment was terminated, among other reasons, in retaliation of his exercise of FMLA rights) drops a bombshell: [In the prior October], I learned that I had — have stage III prostate cancer with a metastatic brain lesion." While… Continue Reading

Largest USERRA Judgment Ever? Judge Enters $1.3M Judgment to Reservist & Former Financial Advisor

Posted in Litigation

Nine months after a jury found his employer liable for firing a reservist called to active duty after the 9/11 attacks, a federal judge awarded Michael Serricchio over $1.3M in damages on his federal claim in a decision handed down late last week. It is believed to be the largest judgment ever awarded under The Uniformed Services… Continue Reading

Court: SNET’s Conversion to Cash Balance Plan Does Not Violate ERISA

Posted in Litigation

First, a warning. If your eyes glaze over at discussing the difference between cash balance plans and defined benefit plans, this post is not for you.  However, for those employers who are considering converting their retirement plans or who have done so, a new case released this morning provides some much-needed guidance in Connecticut about… Continue Reading

Federal Courts May Not Be As Hostile For Employment Plaintiffs As Some Perceive

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Some commentators have argued that the federal courts are increasingly hostile to employees who bring employment discrimination claims in federal court. One study, for example, suggested that plaintiffs simply have too many obstacles to overcome in federal court. A new study on summary judgment practices by the Federal Judicial Center suggests that such a perception may be off-center.  (The… Continue Reading