Yesterday, a group of workers at some of the travel plazas in Connecticut, along with members of Local 32BJ of SEIU, rallied to protest “wage theft” and call for unionization of the employees who work there, including fast-food workers.

The issues the group is raising — at least that have been reported by the press —  are two-fold: That the state’s “prevailing wage” law applies to them and, under that law, they ought to be paid the “fringe rate” attached to it.

This post will not answer those questions, which are best left to a court — or a client wanting to pay attorneys’ fees for a full legal analysis.

But this rally provides the perfect opportunity to recap the prevailing wage rule in the next installment of the Employment Law Checklist Project #emplawchecklist.

The state’s prevailing wage law can be found at Conn. Gen. Stat. Secs. 31-53 and 31-53a.  There are bunch of provisions (far too numerous) but the key language is as follows in section (a):

Each contract for the construction, remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project by the state or agents…shall contain the following provision: “The wages paid on an hourly basis to any person performing the work of any mechanic, laborer or worker on the work herein contracted to be done and the amount of payment or contribution paid or payable on behalf of each such person to any employee welfare fund … shall be at a rate equal to the rate customary or prevailing for the same work in the same trade or occupation in the town in which such public works project is being constructed. Any contractor who is not obligated by agreement to make payment or contribution on behalf of such persons to any such employee welfare fund shall pay to each mechanic, laborer or worker as part of such person’s wages the amount of payment or contribution for such person’s classification on each pay day.”

Scope: As noted by the Connecticut Department of Labor on its helpful website “The law applies to each contract for the construction, remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project by the State or its agents, or by any political subdivision of the State.”

Anything else? Yes, there are cash thresholds to be met too.  It does not apply where the total cost of all work to be performed by all contractors and subcontractors in connection with new construction of a public works project is under $1M and it does not apply in connection with remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project under $100k.  It should be noted that sometimes, the parties to a contract can also indicate that compliance with prevailing wage law is a key component of the contract that might otherwise not fall within the scope of the law. Is that what will be argued for the travel plazas? That remains to be seen.

What’s Prohibited or Required?  A bunch of things, including payment requirements, certification requirements, record-keeping requirements, and more. But at its core, if the contract is covered, workers must be paid a base rate in accordance with what the DOL has established in that particular town for that particular work.  And workers also need to be given a fringe benefit rate which may be paid in cash or benefits.

For example, let’s say a company has a contract to build a $10M publicly-financed office building in New Fairfield.  Jackhammer operators on that project would be entitled to a prevailing wage of $31.25/hour plus a fringe benefit rate of $20.84 according to the 2019 prevailing wage chart issued by the CTDOL.

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? There are various civil, criminal and administrative penalties for violations of the prevailing wage law.  Again, the CTDOL has a good summary: “Failure to pay the prevailing rate is a crime which may be a felony depending upon the amount of unpaid wages.  Knowingly filing a false certified payroll or failure to file a certified payroll is a Class D felony for which an employer may be fined up to five thousand dollars, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.  Disregarding obligations under Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-53 may result in an administrative debarment which may preclude any firm, corporation, partnership or association in which such person or firms have an interest from receiving an award of a contract until a period of up to three years have elapsed.  Additionally, civil penalties of $300 per violation of law may also be assessed upon the employer.”

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? If your work involves the state of Connecticut and you are anywhere close to doing construction or rehab or the like, be sure to consult with legal counsel; prevailing wage laws are notoriously challenging to comply with and add a level of complexity unlike anything else in employment law.  And don’t forget there is a federal counterpart to this — the Davis-Bacon Act.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? Prevailing wage laws get changed a bunch to meet various circumstances. How so? Look at Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-53(h)(2).  It says that the prevailing wage law does not apply to work on a public works project “funded in whole or in part by any private bequest that is greater than nine million dollars but less than twelve million dollars for a municipality in New Haven County with a population of not less than twelve thousand and not more than thirteen thousand…”

Huh? This came about during the special session of the legislature in 2017 and was buried in Section 567.  If you’re curious, only Oxford or Derby have between 12-13k in population.  If anyone knows exactly what this particular project is, let me know.

But for employers, it’s always worth reading the fine print.

In a few weeks, the Connecticut Supreme Court will begin it’s next session.  As I looked at the calendar assignment for the first term, what I began to realize is something that’s been gnawing at me for a while — there’s not an employment law case to be found on the docket.

Then I started to look back at last year’s session (2018-2019).  Term after term. Where were the employment law cases? Unless I missed something, there wasn’t an employment law case to be found anywhere on last year’s case docket.  (The only two that were even in the same neighborhood concerned a procedural requirement of the Municipal Employee Indemnification Statute, and a Labor Arbitration issue.)

In fact, I had to go back to the summer of 2017 to find the last major employment law case that the Connecticut Supreme Court considered.  That case — on the fluctuating workweek — at least gave us some guidance on a thorny wage & hour issue even if very few employers actually use that method of calculating overtime.

But the stream of cases that we used to get from the Connecticut Supreme Court seems to have dried up for now.

The big questions, then, are why have there been no cases and will this continue?

As to why, the answers are not self-evident.  If I had to guess, there are probably a variety of factors in play including: a decent economy, the increasing cost of cases that don’t have a “bet the farm” need to them, employment practices liability insurance (and the insurance companies’ reluctance to risk), settlements, the rise of mandatory arbitrations and a bit of chance.

All those factors help answer the second question as to whether this will continue? That’s a bit harder to predict but all of the above trends that have been in place for the last two years (except, perhaps, a decent economy) are all long-term plays. Arbitration agreements are, no doubt, taking away some of the cases that would otherwise see their way to courts.  Moreover, class action waivers are removing some of the big ticket cases from the court system too.

Add to that the continued legs of the #metoo movement — and companies’ aversion to adverse publicity as a result of any sexual harassment claims — and you still have a recipe for less cases at the state’s highest court.

Of course, trends like this are easily reversed — a few cases could bubble up this year and the trend will be popped. But overall, it’s been pretty quiet.

For employers, there are a few takeaways from this.

First, it’s unlikely we’ll get judicial resolution of some of the issues that remain a bit unsettled in the employment law area.  Companies will have to take calculated risks in some of those areas of confusion.  Second, if you haven’t been involved in litigation in the last ten years, you should understand that the ground has shifted; cases are more expensive than ever with items such as electronic discovery picking up steam.  That makes the incentive to settle for business reasons strong.

Lastly, if you have insurance, understand that the insurance company may ultimately want to settle for the cost of litigation and avoid an uncertain and costly appeal. That decision — however unpopular it is with employment law attorneys — may decide the fate of more cases than you realize.

 

It’s been a long while since this blog went into the toilet.  But in this Employment Law Checklist Project, there are two employment laws we need to tackle together that highlight the very specific nature of some laws and how they remain on the books.

Yes, I’m talking about the two employment laws that require toilets in two industries.

The first of these is Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-36. It provides that:

The commissioner shall have authority by order to that effect to require the proprietor of any foundry in which ten or more persons are employed, situated in a locality where there is such system for the disposal of sewage as to make such order practicable, to provide for the use of such employees a toilet room of such suitable dimensions as said commissioner determines, containing washbowls or sinks connected with running water, with facilities for heating the same, such room to be directly connected with such foundry building, properly heated, ventilated and protected from the dust of such foundry. Any person, company or corporation failing to comply with such order shall be fined not more than fifty dollars.

Not to be outdone, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-38 provides:

Any person, firm or corporation employing twenty-five or more laborers on a tobacco plantation, which fails to provide adequate toilet accommodations for such employees, so arranged as to secure reasonable privacy for both sexes of such employees, shall be fined not less than twenty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

Let’s dig deeper into each of them to add to our checklist.

Scope: Foundries with ten or more employees that are situated in localities where it’s practical to have a toilet room. And employers that have 25 or more workers on a “tobacco plantation”.

Um, what’s a foundry? Glad you asked! A foundry is basically a workshop or factory for casting metal. 

And do we still have “plantations” in Connecticut? Well, that’s a bit of a question mark.  Connecticut’s tobacco industry has definitely shrunk over the past years. It’s just a tenth of the size it was a century ago with just 2000 acres being farmed today. None of them are called “plantations” and none seem to have resident labor of 25 or more employees.

What’s Prohibited or Required?  For foundries, the DOL Commissioner has the authority to order a foundry owner to provide a toilet room. No regulations have been promulgated on this. And if there is such an order, I haven’t found it nor has Google. More on what this means, in a minute.  If you are a covered tobacco employer (anyone? anyone?), you have to provide “adequate toilet accommodations”.  What’s adequate? Your guess is as good as mine but probably one of these examples. 

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? No private right of action by an individual is established.  For foundries, if the CTDOL orders you to provide a toilet room AND you fail to comply, you could be fined $50. For companies running “tobacco plantations”, the CTDOL can presumably fine the companies between $20-100.  (The law was passed in 1949 where $20 is the equivalent today of $215 and $100 is the equivalent of $1078, in case you’re curious.)

What May Be Recovered? Likely only the fines that may be imposed by the Department of Labor. And only for those covered “tobacco plantations”.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? For 99.9 percent of employers in Connecticut, these laws don’t apply to you. And for foundries, you have to be ordered by the DOL first before the requirements kick in.  But practically speaking, I think we can all agree that it’s preferable to have toilets for your employees.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? Why just foundries and tobacco plantations, you ask? Well, as it turns out, Sec. 31-37 used to cover “manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile establishments and restaurants” but that law has long since been repealed.

Ultimately, these laws fall within the sphere of laws that have seem to have long outlived their particular usefulness or utility and yet employers who technically want to comply with each and every law out there, need to be aware of.

And for those that argue that we should have a law requiring toilets, I merely ask — Sure, but why just foundries or tobacco plantations?

#emplawchecklist

 

One of the quirks of discrimination law in Connecticut concerns sexual orientation.  Back in 1991, the General Assembly passed a wide-ranging bill that added sexual orientation as one of the protected classes that employers could not base decisions on.

Sort of.

Rather than add sexual orientation to the key employment law statute that bars discrimination in employment, it created it’s own separate law.  While there may have been reasons for such a distinction nearly 30 years ago, it still a bit strange that we still do it this way. Notably, civil unions are still covered here even though same-sex marriages are now legal.

So on to the next law in our Employment Law Checklist Project (#emplawchecklist).  You can find this one at Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-81c (and related statutes.)  It states, in its relevant part:

It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section: (1) For an employer, by himself or his agent, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment any individual or to discriminate against him in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual’s sexual orientation or civil union status, or (4) for any person, employer, employment agency or labor organization, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to advertise employment opportunities in such a manner as to restrict such employment so as to discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or civil union status.

Scope: You’ll actually find that in Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-51, which defines an employer as “(the state and all political subdivisions thereof and means any person or employer with three or more persons in such person’s or employer’s employ”.  For private employers, this three or more employee rule is fairly common in discrimination law.

Are any employers excluded? Yes! You just have to find it in still another section. Conn. Gen. Stat. 46a-81p says the rules do not apply to “religious corporation, entity, association, educational institution or society with respect to the employment of individuals to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, entity, association, educational institution or society of its activities, or with respect to matters of discipline, faith, internal organization or ecclesiastical rule, custom or law which are established by such corporation, entity, association, educational institution or society.”  Oh, and ROTC programs are also excluded.

What is “sexual orientation”? As defined by statute, it means: ““sexual orientation” means having a “preference for heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, having a history of such preference or being identified with such preference, but excludes any behavior which constitutes a violation of part VI of chapter 952.”

Uh, so what’s a violation of part VI of chapter 952? That would be the state’s penal code. You know, things like murder, rape, telephone fraud, unlawfully using slugs, etc.

What’s Prohibited or Required? The usual for discrimination cases — don’t do it.

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? Yes, and with the revisions to state law, expanded time to file etc. 

What May Be Recovered? It has typically depended on where the complaint is litigated — at the CHRO or in court. Recently, as I recapped, there have been changes to let Human Rights Referees have more ability to fashion a broader remedy. Moreover, punitive damages may now be allowed. In short, discrimination cases have gotten more expensive.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? Make sure your policy is updated to include sexual orientation among the protected classes.  And if you think you may be a “religious corporation”, be sure to consult with an attorney about the application.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? Last week, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, proposed regulations on the scope of the religious exemption contained in section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246 for federal contractors.  The proposal seeks to expand section 204(c) to allow religious organizations with federal contracts to “make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”  But this definition of a religious organization may not be the same as Connecticut has defined it; employers should tread carefully in this area.

One of the reasons I’m working on this project is to highlight the mandates and requirements that employers in the state need to follow. Some can lead to possible litigation; some can lead to, well, something less.

Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51jj is an example of the something less. The key language of the provision is as follows:

An employer shall notify an employee of an incoming emergency telephone call for the employee if the caller states that the emergency involves a member of the employee’s family or  a person designated by the employee in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 1-56r [typically someone with the power to make decisions, like healthcare, over another.] It shall not be a violation of this section if the employer proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she made reasonable efforts to notify the employee of the emergency telephone call.  The failure of an employer to comply with any provision of this section shall be an infraction.

Scope: None provided in the statute itself.  Presumably, then, all employers, including the state.

What’s Prohibited or Required?  Upon receipt of an telephone call where the caller says there an “emergency!”, you must notify the employee of the emergency.

What’s an “Emergency”?  As defined in the statute, an emergency means “a situation in which a member of the employee’s family has died, experienced a serious physical injury or is ill and in need of medical attention.”

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? No private right of action by an individual. It’s just an “infraction”.   But note that Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-69a does allow the Connecticut Department of Labor to seek penalties for violations of the rules of Chapter 557, which is where you’ll find Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51jj. The Attorney General can then institute a civil action to recover such penalties.

What the Heck is an “Infraction” Anyways? According to the Judicial Branch website: An infraction is a breach of a state law, regulation or local ordinance
that is identified as an infraction by the Legislature. A person who is charged with an infraction is usually not required to go to court. Payment of the total amount due by mail, in person, or on-line is authorized by section 51-164n of the Connecticut General Statutes. An “infraction” is not a crime and it is not an offense as defined in the criminal laws of Connecticut. There is no right to a trial by jury for infractions cases.

What May Be Recovered? Likely only the penalties that may be imposed by the Department of Labor.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? If your office gets a call that says that an employee’s immediate family member has died, let the employee know. In other words, act with common sense and the Golden Rule.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? The law was amended in 2002 as part of a larger series of reforms regarding what happens if an individual dies. Also note: the Connecticut Department of Labor lists some statutes like this on its website but unfortunately, has the older version of the statute of its website.  And finally, the law only covers telephone calls. Get an emergency text or e-mail? Not covered but honestly, just let the employee know.

In my new series (you can read the background here), I’m going to highlight an employment law that employers in Connecticut need to follow. Some of them can lead to lawsuits; some may just lead to fines.   I’ve titled this the “Employment Law Checklist Project”.

First up: Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40h.  This law states:

No employer, including the state or any political subdivision thereof, shall condition the employment, transfer or promotion of any individual on the sterilization of such individual.

What we’ll start to see from looking at these laws is that the definition of an employer can sometimes change and there are differences in the type of recovery that can be sought for violations.

Scope: All employers, including the state. No limit on number of employees and there is no specific definition of employer here.  Contrast that with Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40j (which follows this law), and you’ll find an actual definition of “employer” — but it doesn’t cover this particular section.

What’s Prohibited or Required: Here, the law prohibits an employer from conditioning employment, transfer or promotions on sterilization. In other words, an employer should not say that “You can get this promotion to Vice President, but first we want to get a vasectomy.”

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? Yes. Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40i allows for a private right of action in state court.

What May Be Recovered? Damages generally, but may also recover attorney’s fees and costs.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? You mean, beyond the “Don’t require your employees to be sterilized”? No.  And you probably don’t need a policy or training about this. It’s pretty arcane.

Any other interesting background? Notably, Westlaw doesn’t report a single case under this statute since it became effective in 1982.  While there is a reference or two to it’s existence, no courts have published any reported opinions on this (beyond one isolated reference to its existence).

One of my colleagues, Mike Chase has, for the last several years, been tweeting at “Crime a Day” about the various federal criminal laws and regulations that we have. Or rather, the thousands upon thousands of them. In fact, Mike has now put out a great book “How to Become a Federal Criminal” that is the perfect beach read or birthday gift. 

The point Mike likes to make is this:  Congress has been so careless in giving lawmaking authority to federal agencies that in the process it has created an incoherent and largely accidental body of criminal law. 

Recently, I wrote about how it will now a violation of the state’s employment law to discriminate against someone because of their status on the Civil Air Patrol.  Pretty random, right?

It may only impact a few employers, but it’s just another one in a long series of laws that employers need to follow in this state.  It really got me thinking — how many employment laws do employers in Connecticut really need to follow?

Until now, there hasn’t been a way to track that.  I’m going to try to start now.

And so, each week (maybe more if I can), I’m going to try to highlight one of the state’s laws or regulations that employers need to follow.  I have no idea how many there are but we’re going to start to find out.  Some laws make sense and employers will need to take steps to get into compliance; others may not and perhaps the General Assembly might add them to a list of bills that have outlived their usefulness. (Don’t get me started on the elevator operation rule at Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-25.)

Most of these laws or rules can be found in two parts of our Connecticut General Statutes — Title 31 and Title 46.  And if we add in some regulations, it’s going to expand.

No doubt, the list will be wide ranging. For example, you probably know that an employer can’t discriminate on the basis of race, but did you know it was against the law to condition employment on the sterilization of the employee? (It is: Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40h.)

And a caveat: For the time being, I will likely NOT be focusing on the federal employment laws. Why? Well, every project needs parameters and I think just focusing on the state laws may keep me busy here for years. Employers obviously need to follow both state and federal. And some jurisdictions have local laws to follow too.

So, follow along and feel free to ask for particular laws to be featured in upcoming posts. You can add them to the comments or tweet them to me.  I’ll keep a running list of laws and I’m going to title this project the “Employment Law Checklist Project”- a nod to the notion that employers need to follow a checklist of laws. How big is that checklist? Let’s find out together.

You can find the first of these posts here.

A bill that would have brought the state’s tipping regulations in line with federal regulations was not brought up for a veto override vote earlier this week. I previously covered the subject in prior posts here and here.

According to a report in CT Mirror, a “deal” is now being sought that would allow the issue to be brought back before the General Assembly.  However, that may not happen until next year. (Update on July 29, 2019: The deal may be brought before a special session late this summer.)

As a result, restaurants should continue to ensure that they meet the requirements of the state’s confusing regulations on service vs. non-service work. I covered that in a prior post.

This will, no doubt, come as a disappointment to some who had sought to have this bill go under the radar.   Indeed, I even heard grumblings that I shouldn’t have even posted about it — as if talking about something that passed the General Assembly ought to be a secret or that our clients didn’t have a right to know what was going on.  But that seems somewhat misguided.

The state’s wage/hour regulations regarding restaurants are arcane, hard to follow, and are ripe for retooling.  While well-intentioned, they don’t necessarily reflect modern-day realities of some restaurants where service teams are utilized to provide the best service to customers.  And there are traps for lots of small businesses who provide essential work to thousands of individuals in this state.  The penalties are disproportionate to the compliance issues they cover and can be devastating to businesses.

Ever try explaining things like the “Minimum Daily Earnings Guarantee” in Conn. Regs. Sec. 31-62-E1? Why can waiters get tips that count to the tip credit but “countergirls, counterwaitresses” among others are ineligible? And why should a waiter doing a “non-service” duty eliminate the use of the tip credit entirely? And is tip pooling allowed? Under what circumstances?

With the minimum wage increasing to $15/hour over the next few years, and therefore, the penalties to employers for non-compliance increasing significantly, it is essential that the General Assembly find a solution to this.  A grand “deal” may just be the best thing to come from the veto; no doubt, the publicity has educated more than a few legislators about the critical need here.

The future of our restaurant industry may just depend on it.

 

Over the weekend, President Trump tweeted out that several prominent “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” (who, it shouldn’t have to be said but does, are all American citizens, most of whom were born in the United States) should  “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

This language has, rightly, been condemned.  But I wondered — what does employment law have to say about this type of language in the private workplace context? Do COURTS conclude that this language can be used to find employment discrimination?

As it turns out, courts have quite a bit to say.

For example, in Brewster v. City of Poughkeepsie, a District Court refused to overturn a jury verdict against an employer where there was evidence that a similar comment was made to the Plaintiff who was of Cuban national origin.

When asked on direct examination if anything was said to her in the station about her race or ethnicity, plaintiff replied that people said to her, “Speak English. Go back to your own country if you want to speak Spanish. You’re in our country.”  These comments referencing plaintiff’s country—as opposed to simply comments about her language—coupled with remarks to [another employee] about Fidel Castro—the national leader of Cuba—provide some basis on which the jury could conclude that the hostility directed at plaintiff was based, not only on the language she spoke, but also on her Cuban national origin.

In EEOC v. WC&M Enterprises, Inc., the Fifth Circuit reversed summary judgment to the employer finding that evidence that a co-worker said to the Plaintiff (born in India and a practicing Muslim), “Why don’t you just go back where you came from since you believe what you believe?”

The EEOC issued 2016 guidance on national origin discrimination claims that even cites to this case “noting that hostile work environment based on national origin can take different forms, including ethnic slurs, ridicule, intimidation, workplace graffiti, physical violence, or other offensive conduct directed toward an individual because of his birthplace, ethnicity, culture, language, dress, or foreign accent.”

And a District Court in 2016, Cerezo-Martin v. Agroman, denied summary judgment to an employer where several co-workers disparaged the plaintiff repeatedly telling him that he “should return to his home country and engaged in xenophobic name calling”.

That said, other courts have said that such language might not be enough particularly when it was just one comment not made by a supervisor.  In Abdel-Ghani v. Target Corp., the Eighth Circuit said that a single comment to a plaintiff that he should “go back home, go to your country” was “facially neutral as to national origin” and therefore did not demonstrate animus.

Suffice to say that using language in the workplace that employees should “go back to their country” or words to those effect can and will be used as a basis of employment discrimination claims. I never thought I’d say this, but following the President’s words can lead employers to big trouble. Human Resources professionals should be on notice to see if any of this national dialogue weaves its way into the private workplace. If so, HR should be speaking up to shut it down.

Late Friday, Governor Lamont vetoed House Bill 5001, which I had highlighted in an earlier post as being passed during the waning hours of the legislative session.

That bill would have rescinded a particular labor regulation and required the Department of Labor to promulgate a new regulation in its place.

In vetoing the measure, Governor Lamont noted that the “while it may be reasonable to conclude that state and federal laws should be consistent in this area, that conclusion ought to be made only after sufficient study, debate and input from affected stakeholders.  That did not happen here.”

He also noted that the bill’s application to pending lawsuits was also problematic claiming it raises “serious due process and other constitutional concerns.”

According to an article in the Hartford Courant, the House Speaker has indicated that he will be talking with members about whether to vote to override the veto next week during a special session.

Notably, the veto happened just a week or so after a jury verdict that a hotel in Windsor Locks violated that regulation by failing to segregate service work from nonservice work.  You can find the jury verdict here.  

The Plaintiff is now asking the judge to award back pay damages of $5207 but penalty damages of $28,119.31 — nearly five times the amount of actual loss.

For restaurants and bars in the state, this case as well as the veto are a reminder that the state’s laws and regulations in this area can be costly.  Be sure to review your policies and take active steps to become familiar with the state’s laws.