Yesterday’s seminar on Wage & Hour Rx, sponsored by the CBIA, went very well and I thank all of the attendees for their great questions and comments. It made for a lively discussion about all things wage & hour.

What were some of the "hot topics"?

  • The difference between employees and independent contractors was a big one.  Here was one example we discussed. Suppose a HVAC company lands a big contract to install air conditioning in a school. It doesn’t have enough staff on its own right now to do the job. It can subcontract another company to do the work; in that case, it’s likely that the other company and the other company’s employees would be deemed to be independent contractors. However, if it hires people directly for this short term project (even for a few weeks), it may be more likely to be seen as an employer/employee relationship. 
  • Losing an exemption for an employee who would otherwise be exempt from overtime laws was also a topic of interest.  The example we discussed was an executive who is disciplined for violating an ordinary employment rule (such as sexual harassment) and gets suspended for two days without pay.  Under Connecticut law (as opposed to federal law), that may remove the individual from the executive exemption because if an employee works any time during a week, that employee must be paid for the entire week.  The CTDOL does list 5 ways that rule may be circumvented, but violating ordinary work rules isn’t one of them.
  • We also spent a little time on the new family violence leave provisions that will go into effect in October 2010.  Several attendees were surprised to learn of these new provisions.  I’ve previously discussed this bill  and now’s the time to start getting educated on these provisions. I confirmed with a CTDOL official yesterday that no regulations or guidance will be forthcoming from that agency on interpretation of the bill so there’s going to be a lot of unknowns when this bill starts.  

My thanks to the CBIA for inviting me and my colleagues to the seminar and to all the attendees.