In a decision that will be officially released on Tuesday, the Connecticut Appellate Court has upheld the dismissal of a wrongful discharge claim against Marvelwood School, an independent school in Kent, Connecticut. In doing so, the Court turned back an attempt to limit the employment-at-will doctrine and provided employers in Connecticut with reassurance that wrongful discharge claims will be appropriately limited.

The case, Zweig v. Marvelwood School, can be viewed here.

(An upfront disclosure: My firm represented the employer here and I represented the school on the successful appeal.) 

The facts of the case are relatively straightforward and are summarized in the court’s decision. The plaintiff Aaron Zweig was employed by the defendant Marvelwood School as a history teacher and school’s Director of Food Studies. That role required him to establish and maintain a garden on campus and use it to teach a class on food studies.

In May, 2015, Mr. Zweig allegedly objected to the school’s suggestion that telephone poles that had been treated with creosote, a pesticide and wood preservative, be used to make raised beds in the garden because he believed that the chemical posed a health risk to himself and his students.


Continue Reading Connecticut Appellate Court Rejects Challenge to At-Will Employment Doctrine

hartfordYears ago, I recall having a friendly conversation with another attorney in Connecticut where the topic turned to the notion of “At Will” employment.

When we couldn’t settle on an answer, we moved on to talking about whether the Hartford Whalers would ever come back.

I think we had a better answer for that question:

The law is mightier than the pen?

Rather than tell you the result of a new Connecticut Supreme Court case first, let’s play along with the facts at home first.Here they are:

The plaintiff was hired as a laboratory manager by the defendant in February, 2006. On February 2, 2006, the

Remember earlier this year when the NLRB was hinting that certain at-will disclaimers (you know, the type of language in offer letters that says that the employee is at-will and can be fired for any reason or no reason at all) might be illegal under a new reading of applicable labor law?

[caption id=”attachment_4289″ align=”alignright”

Earlier this week, I highlighted one holding from a new case from the Connecticut Appellate Court that will be released next week.

Another portion of the case dealt with interaction between the employee and the supervisor. In the case, the plaintiff alleged that she had been told by her supervisor that, after she had

Draft with care

Suppose that, after you’ve employed a worker for a year or so, she asks you for a raise. She doesn’t ask about any guarantee term for employment but you come back and give her a 36 month time frame for her salary going forward. 

You draft an

Take a look at your employment-at-will language right now in your employee handbook or offer letter. (I’ll wait; if you can’t find it, you’ve got larger issues than the one I’m about to discuss). 

It probably says something like this:

Your employment with the Company is on an “at-will” basis. This means that you have

Going to a trial with an employment discrimination case is expensive. Which is one reason why many employers will ask the court to dismiss a claim before trial using a process known as "summary judgment"

But a recent federal court case illustrates the difficulty that employers still have in getting courts to grant summary