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

Tag Archives: free speech

Free Speech in the Workplace Gets Another Day in Court

Posted in Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Tomorrow, the Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trusz v. UBS. It’s case I’ve mentioned before and even made a prediction about the case back at the start of the year. I’m not going to discuss it in detail because I and my colleagues here at the firm wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Connecticut… Continue Reading

A Look Ahead: Three (More) Bold Predictions in Connecticut Employment Law in 2015

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Having tackled the predictions in employment law on a federal level, what does the future hold for employers in Connecticut? Besides a debate on Family & Medical Leave Insurance, there are a few things we’re likely to see. 1. New bills at the General Assembly: The first one comes courtesy of Mara Lee over at… 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

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

Target’s Union Avoidance Video Is Worth Watching

Posted in Labor Law & NLRB

You might wonder why certain employers aren’t unionized.  There are many factors, of course, but one of them is a keen awareness by the employer of the risks that are out there. Target is one of those employers. Earlier this week, Gawker acquired one of the videos that Target uses to educate its workforce on… 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 & NLRB, 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

As the Dust Settles: Watered-Down Non-Compete Bill Passes; Social Media Password Bill Fails

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

The dust is still settling from the mad dash that is the end of the Connecticut General Assembly session.  I’ll have more in the upcoming days as events warrant, but here’s a quick look at a few items that I’ve been tracking in recent weeks.  A bill (HB 6658) restricting the use of non-compete agreements passed… 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

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 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 & NLRB, 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

Decisions Only Your In-House Lawyer Could Love

Posted in Litigation

In a post from earlier this week , I indicated that a new Appellate Court decision had some interesting points on wrongful discharge claim that were worth exploring. At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court released a FMLA decision that made a few headlines. But what I didn’t mention was this: the takeaways from these cases are… 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

A Look Back at 2011 Prediction … and a Sneak Peek at 2012

Posted in Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments, Litigation

It’s easy to make predictions about the future. It’s far harder to look back at them and see if you were right.  Fortunately or unfortunately for me, my predictions are in print — there for a looking. So how did my prediction go for 2011? Well, in my main article, I predicted that on a… 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

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

Second Circuit Throws Out Demoted Dean’s First Amendment Claim

Posted in Litigation

The Second Circuit ruled Friday that the University of Connecticut is entitled to "qualified immunity" on a School of Engineering Dean’s claim that he was demoted in violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech.  The case has very important ramifications for public employers on how they can deal with criticism from managerial-level employees…. Continue Reading

First Amendment Claim Brought by Ex-Courant Columnist Could Address Issue of “Competing” Rights

Posted in Litigation

The Connecticut Law Tribune ran a story this week about the lawsuit being brought by a former Hartford Courant columnist, George Gombossy. I’ve discussed the case before — it raises a claim that the columnist’s First Amendment rights were violated under a state law (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51q) that purports to apply that amendment… Continue Reading

Tribune Company Sued by Its Former “Watchdog” on Free Speech Grounds

Posted in Litigation

UPDATED George Gombossy, who penned a consumer-advocacy column for the Hartford Courant before being fired last month, has filed suit against the Courant (and its parent company, the Tribune Company) alleging that he was fired in retaliation for his lawful speech.  Gombossy now has a website he calls "CT Watchdog" and posted the complaint and… Continue Reading