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

Tag Archives: retaliation

Court’s Decision on Severance Agreements Avoids Central Issues

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

Just a quick followup today on a post from last month. As I reported then, a District Court judge dismissed a closely-watched EEOC lawsuit against CVS challenging a pretty standard severance agreement.  But the grounds for the dismissal were unknown back then. The wait is over; the written decision was released yesterday.  For those that were hoping that… 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

Employment Law Statistics Tell Part of a Story; Still Waiting for CHRO

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

Every once in a while, it’s worth taking a look at statistics in the employment law arena to get a sense of trends with the law and what employers should focus on.For those that have been paying attention, retaliation claims are now the most filed type of charge filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee… 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

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts: “But For” Standard Requires New Trial, Court Rules

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

It’s always a little tricky to determine exactly how lower courts will apply a rule of law that develops from a U.S. Supreme Court. Take the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, decided in June, which held that a “but for” standard (i.e., that an employer would not have taken an adverse employment… Continue Reading

CHRO’s Website Contains Details on Whistleblower Retaliation Protections

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

With all the talk about Edward Snowden, the notion of whistleblowers is back front and center in the public eye.  (Put aside for the moment that Snowden is not likely a “whistleblower” in the legal sense.) On a federal level, whistleblower claims are mostly covered by the False Claims Act.  But at a state level,… Continue Reading

What Happens in Connecticut to Discrimination and Retaliation Cases After U.S. Supreme Court Case?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Back in 1994 (in a case Levy v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, for the lawyers out there) the Appellate Court in Connecticut made a seemingly innocuous pronouncement: “We look to federal employment discrimination law for guidance in enforcing our own antidiscrimination statute.” Why? Because back then, there did not seem a reason to… Continue Reading

BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court Holds “But For” Standard of Proof Applies; Big Implications for Retaliation Cases

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

In another big win for employers today, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII retaliation cases must be proved by a “but for” standard of proof, not a lower standard that had been used in various courts before. At issue in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar case is the following question… Continue Reading

Just Give Me a Reason: Court Clarifies Burden-Shifting Standards

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

With apologies to P!nk (and her hit, “Just Give Me a Reason”), a new court decision gives new meaning to the phrase.  Before we get to that, longtime readers of the blog will no doubt be familiar with the burden-shifting analysis that courts use to analyze discrimination cases.  First, the employee must meet a “prima… Continue Reading

Reality Bites: Know the Law Before Using That Hidden Camera

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

During the holiday break, I did what many lawyers do (but will publicly deny): I watched a few ”bad” reality tv shows.   No, I didn’t watch “Here Comes Honey Boo-boo” (even I have my limits).  But on the Food Network was a marathon of episodes of a show called “Mystery Diners”.   The show is based around so-called “Mystery… Continue Reading

A New Whistleblower Retaliation Statute Grows Up: Dodd-Frank is the new Sarbanes-Oxley.

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

Reading the headline, I’m sure a few of you rolled your eyes.  Dodd-Frank? Sarbanes-Oxley? Those statutes are seen as dull and tedious.  But a new federal court decision in Connecticut should start to change that, and it has implications for employers nationwide.  The case is Kramer v. Trans-Lux, which you can download here. It addressed an employer’s motion… Continue Reading

Pull Up Your SOX: The New Whistleblowing Claim Grows Up

Posted in Laws and Regulations, Litigation

I’ll be the first to admit that the words “Sarbanes-Oxley Act” are likely to induce a big collective yawn from many of you out there.  Even the acronym “SOX” doesn’t liven things up.  (Then there are people, like Doug Cornelius at the Compliance Building blog who eat this stuff up.) But here’s what you need… Continue Reading

Appellate Court Releases Trio of Important Employment Law Cases

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

The Connecticut Appellate Court released three significant employment law decisions on Monday — one of the busiest days in recent memory for the court. For employers, the cases are a mixed bag but do provide some useful practice pointers. City Sheriff Was Not an “Employee” Entitled to Statutory Protection  In Young v. Bridgeport, the Court ruled that… Continue Reading

Big Day for Employers at Connecticut Supreme Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Featured, Litigation

It’s been several years since employers had some decisions to cheer about at the Connecticut Supreme Court.  But yesterday, the court released two important decisions that will likely rank as among the most significant the court has issued in the employment context in the last decade. I represented the employer in one of those cases, which you… Continue Reading

When People Get Angry: Power Outages & Khan

Posted in Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

There’s the great scene in the movie “Network” that features the line – “I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!”. After 12 days without power, that’s a message that is resonating with me quite loudly. But this is an employment law blog and there’s a message there for employers too…. Continue Reading

What Does it Take to Survive a Motion to Dismiss? Facts, Not Conclusions

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Back in February, I noted that a motion to dismiss in federal court – while still difficult to achieve — still had a pulse.  That’s important for employers because it provides a mechanism for getting rid of frivolous claims early on with lower costs than federal lawsuits typically cost. A new district court case gives… Continue Reading

More Publicity for Sick Leave Bill’s “Sleeper” Provision

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

Power is still out to big parts of the state, but here in Hartford, power is on and life continues. And so must the blog… Back in June, when the Connecticut General Assembly approved of the paid sick leave bill, I was quick to note that the retaliation provisions in the bill seemed to apply… Continue Reading

Paid Sick Leave Bill’s Anti-Retaliation Provisions Broader Than Just “Service Workers”

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

Remember how I indicated that most of the paid sick leave bill covers only “service workers”? That’s true, but there is a big exception that hasn’t been mentioned much elsewhere. Indeed, employers who have 50 or more employees should beware: The new Paid Sick Leave bill’s anti-retaliation provisions may cover all employees, not just the… Continue Reading

Oral Complaints under FLSA are Shielded from Retaliation, Supreme Court Rules; Impact in Connecticut?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

For anyone who has been following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions interpreting wage & hour, discrimination and retaliation claims, yesterday’s decision in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (download here), can hardly come as a surprise. Indeed, in a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court concluded that to "file" a complaint, an employee need only provide an… 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

Supreme Court Recap: Creating a “Zone of Interest” Under Title VII Retaliation Law

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

The United States Supreme Court today, in an 8-0 decision (Justice Kagan recused herself), ruled that Title VII retaliation provisions include protection to those people who have suffered an adverse employment action and are in the same "zone of interest" as another employee who filed a charge.   What does that mean? Good question.  First,… Continue Reading

It’s Snow Joke: EEOC Statistics Show Increasing Numbers of Retaliation Cases Filed, But Then What?

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

News flash: Record snows in Connecticut!  Second news flash: Record numbers of people are out of work and filing complaints of discrimination at the EEOC nationwide! Here’s the thing with both news flashes: They’re not entirely unexpected.  Sure, they’re in higher amounts than we’re accustomed to seeing, but both can be explained. (I’ll leave it… Continue Reading

Paid Administrative Leave is Not an “Adverse Employment Action”

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Not everything that happens in the workplace can give rise to a viable discrimination or retaliation claim.  Various courts have emphasized that there must be an "adverse employment action". Otherwise, a claim will go nowhere. But what exactly IS an adverse employment action? A new federal court case in Connecticut — in borrowing from judicial dictum… Continue Reading