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

Tag Archives: first amendment

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

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

Offensive Tweets and Twitter Justice: The Tale of Justine Sacco for Employers

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

Have you heard of Justine Sacco? If you’re on social media, it was hard to avoid over the weekend. She was the public relations professional who posted an offensive tweet on Friday before boarding a plane to South Africa. Never mind that she had only 200 or so followers when she made the tweet.  By the… Continue Reading

First Amendment Retaliation Claims Remain Alive (and Well?)

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

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti several years ago, there was a lot of chatter about whether public employees still had substantive First Amendment free speech rights. And for a short while, the trend did seem to indicate that speech that related to an employee’s “official job duties” was to be construed broadly and that… Continue Reading

A “Like” is a Like, Court Says, and is Protected Free Speech

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB, Social Media

In a closely watched case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday that a “Like” on Facebook is a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment. In doing so, it kept alive a lawsuit brought by an employee who claims he was fired for supporting an political candidate who was running against his boss. … Continue Reading

Free Speech Statute Creates Affirmative Defense, Court Rules

Posted in Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

In last week’s post about an important new free speech case from the Connecticut Superior Court, I highlighted one aspect of the court’s ruling. Today’s post addresses another aspect – though this may have more significance to practitioners in the area than anything else. Connecticut’s free speech statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51q, contains an notable… Continue Reading

Court: Connecticut Constitution Provides Greater Free Speech Rights For Employees

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

Does the Connecticut Constitution provide an independent and greater right of free speech for public (and even private) employees than the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitition? That was a question left unanswered in last year’s precedent-setting Schumann decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court that I handled, where the court stated: “We decline to reach the state constitutional… Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Governor’s Layoffs of Only Union Personnel Subject to Strict Scrutiny

Posted in Class Actions, Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation

On Friday, the Second Circuit issued an important decision in the long-running battle between the state unions and the government about whether layoffs of only union personnel violated the First Amendment. I’ve previously discussed the background of this case (and my very early involvement in it) in various posts. The Second Circuit not only reversed the… Continue Reading

Quick Hits: From I-9s to Workplace Surveillance

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

The Connecticut Law Tribune’s quarterly supplement on Labor & Employment Law was published this week and as usual, it is chock full of articles of relevance to attorneys and employers.  Many of the topics have been covered here in the blog, but the additional analysis and discussion on the topics make them useful.  You can… Continue Reading

Breaking: No NLRB Union Posters, Says Appeals Court

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB

A while back, the NLRB proposed that all employers would need to put up posters detailing employee rights to form a union.  If employers did not, then the employers could be subjected to an unfair labor practice charge — a serious charge. Implementation of that rule was delayed pending court challenges. This morning, the DC… Continue Reading

Three (Among Many) Problems with Proposed Free Speech Bill

Posted in Legislative Developments

Since the publication of my post last week on House Bill 6667 on free speech in the workplace, there’s been a lot of followup press coverage.  Two that I would highlight include this Patch.com article, and this blog post by Mara Lee at the Hartford Courant.  The CBIA also highlighted the post on its website… Continue Reading

Proposed Bill Would Create Chaos for Employers and Constituionalize Common Workplace Grievances

Posted in Featured, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments

Employers: If there is one proposed bill at the Connecticut General Assembly to be concerned about this year, it is the stealth House Bill 6667.  It could have the single biggest impact on employer/employee relations in a generation.   And that’s just for starters. If you look at the bill on the legislative website, it looks innocuous enough. … Continue Reading

Sandy Spooks Employers but Will Employers Scare Employees Into Voting?

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB, Laws and Regulations

Everyone ok out there? What a wild couple of days we’ve had in Connecticut and, for those still without power, it’s not over yet.  Much like Irene and the October snowstorm before it, Sandy has left her mark.  But it’s time to get back to business today. We’re less than a week away from the… Continue Reading

Federal Court Suggests Connecticut Constitution Protects Private Employee Speech

Posted in Litigation

Earlier this summer, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued two decisions that held that the free speech protections in Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51q were limited by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos.  To grossly oversimplify, an employee (public or private) whose speech related to their official job duties, was not entitled to protection. In… Continue Reading

Conn. Supreme Court Rejects $10M Verdict; Insubordination is Not Protected Speech

Posted in Featured, Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

In one of the most significant employment law cases decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court in recent years, the Court unanimously ruled earlier this month that an employee’s free speech rights in the private workplace do not extend to speech pursuant to his job duties.  Those rights do not cover insubordinate behavior either. In doing so, the Court reversed the… Continue Reading

Court: Employee’s Complaint Trumps Performance Issues

Posted in Litigation

It will come as no surprise to employers that summary judgment (essentially, throwing out a case before trial) in employment cases in state court is hard to get.  State judges are typically reluctant to grant such a motion, which means cases get scheduled for trial — an expensive and uncertain proposition at best for employers. … Continue Reading

Employee’s Speech Against Employer May Be Protected by First Amendment

Posted in Litigation

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Garcetti v. Ceballos that an employee’s speech pursuant to the employee’s official job duties was not protected by the First Amendment, employers have attempted to use that case as a shield against free speech lawsuits by employees. But a decision by a federal court in Connecticut late… Continue Reading

Court Not “Up In the Air”: Travel for Work Does Not Violate “Familial Association” Right

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

George Clooney famously made business travel look (somewhat) cool in the movie, Up in the Air. Clooney’s character was single (really, would you expect otherwise?) and business travel was a bit glamorous (though a bit tedious as well). Perhaps not surprisingly, absent from the movie was a discussion of whether business travel could be the… Continue Reading

BREAKING: Connecticut Supreme Court Adopts Second Circuit’s “Ministerial Exception” Rule

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

The Connecticut Supreme Court today ruled (in a decision that will be effective August 2, 2011) that the ministerial exception found under the First Amendment bars certain employment related claims brought against religious institutions. The court’s unanimous decision in Dayner v. Archdiocese of Hartford can be downloaded here. In doing so, the Court explicitly adopts… Continue Reading

Choose Your Own Takeaway from Appellate Court Decision

Posted in Litigation

When people come up to me to talk about the blog, one of the things that often gets discussed is “How do you pick things to write about?” Often times, I tell them, it comes easily. But a new Appellate Court decision, Johnson v. Board of Education — a decision that will be officially released… Continue Reading

Quick Hits: GINA and Wellness Programs and More

Posted in Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments, Litigation

So with the Supreme Court’s decision last week, there’s lots of other items that have slipped under the radar. (It’s Daylight Savings Time this Saturday, for example, which means spring is right around the corner.) Here’s some of things you might have missed: Wellness programs are all the rage. But do they violate GINA? That’s the… Continue Reading

Back Again? After Remanding Case Once, Second Circuit This Time Finds for Employer on First Amendment Claims

Posted in Litigation

In broad terms, the First Amendment prohibits public employers from retaliating against employees who engage in "protected speech".   (Connecticut has a statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51q that purports to apply the First Amendment to private employers too.)  But proving these cases remains difficult for employees.   And even victories may later end up as defeats… Continue Reading

First Amendment Retaliation Claims by Town Facilities Manager Tossed by District Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

A former Branford Facilities Manager’s claims that his employment was terminated due to protected speech and his political affiliation were effectively dismissed on Friday, February 25th when a federal court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The 40-page opinion provides good roadmap for employers (and their attorneys) to understanding such claims and what is… Continue Reading

Another Day. Another Employee Fired Because of Facebook

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB

Haven’t we heard this before? A Bourne, Massachusetts firefighter was recently fired for — imagine this — his Facebook posts in which he  "allegedly railed against [a] police officer over some incident, angrily carried on about being forced to work on the Fourth of July holiday and  made a homosexual slur", according to press reports…. Continue Reading