Before the pandemic (remember then?), you may recall a case last year that drew headlines: Chip’s Family Restaurants was having issues with a class action lawsuit filed against the small chain by allegedly improperly deducting a tip credit from server earnings thereby paying those potential class members below the minimum wage for the performance of
Six months after a little-noticed bill passed unanimously by the General Assembly (and was then vetoed by Governor Lamont), a new compromise measure passed yesterday in a special session. For a full article, check out CT Mirror’s coverage here or CTNewsJunkie here.
The bill uses some of the same concepts that had been previously discussed,…
What makes an employee file a lawsuit? Or what makes an employee give an employer the benefit of the doubt?
I think about this question sometimes in the middle of lawsuits. I try to figure out what went wrong in the relationship between the employer and the employee.
After all, at some point, both thought…
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity (CHRO) was sued yesterday by its longtime (and former) Regional Manager Pekah Wallace. The federal lawsuit claims her employment termination was improper and provides a whole host of information about what has been going on behind the scenes at the agency.
In yesterday’s post, I talked about some of the reasons why an employee’s lawsuit against his or her employer was destined for failure.
But employers, I’m afraid you’re not off the hook that easily. This post is for any employer that just got sued or threatened with suit.
Maybe that lawsuit isn’t so frivolous after all.
Wait a second! You said yesterday that ‘Odds are, you probably weren’t discriminated against’!”
Ah, but isn’t that rub? Odds. Statistics. Yes, some (many?) lawsuits brought by employees are losing propositions. But some are not.
Here are some things I tell clients or prospective clients when I see a lawsuit filed or threatened as to why they should take the lawsuit seriously.
1. That frivolous lawsuit is still going to cost you thousands (if not tens of thousands) to defend. But I thought you said this post was about non-frivolous lawsuits? True. But for my first point, that’s beside the point entirely. Whether a lawsuit is frivolous or not, the system of justice through our courts and administrative agencies moves slowly and with some cautiousness. Even the frivolous ones need to be defended. Court filings need to be, well, filed. And court conferences need to be attended. So your first point always is to recognize that all employment law cases have a cost associated with them.
And as such, all cases have what we call a “nuisance” value as well. That is — you are going to spend X amount of dollars defending the lawsuit. It may be cheaper to just pay a certain amount to avoid the cost of defense. Now, there are business reasons why you won’t want to do so in all or even many cases, but the employer who fails to recognize the nuisance value of the case is destined to be disappointed in the long run.
It’s a bit of hyperbole to say that any person can sue anyone at any time for any reason. But not that much. Lawsuits are a part of doing business. Frivolous or not, you will still have spend money to defend your decision. Be prepared for this eventuality when making your employment decisions and deciding whether or not to offer severance in exchange for a release.
2. “At Will” Employment Is a Misnomer. In Connecticut, the default employment relationship between an employer and employee is “at-will”. As many offer letters suggest, that means either the employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason or no reason at all. And so, I sometimes hear employers exclaiming “Connecticut is at-will! We should be able to just fire them for any reason! How can they still sue?”
The last few weeks it seems that I’ve been reading about sexual harassment in the workplace issues a lot more. Here are a few examples:
- Gretchen Carlson sues Fox News’ Roger Ailes.
- Suit Says Managing Partner Pressured Female Staff for Sex
- Sexual Harassment Still
Well, it was bound to happen. After nine years of writing the blog on a near daily schedule, some work and personal commitments interfered with my blog writing schedule. But never fear, more new posts from me are now right around the corner.
In the meantime, one of our summer associates, James Joyce, joins the…
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…
My good friend, Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, probably said it best this morning:
I try to shy away from hyperbole, but OH MY GOD, THIS CASE COULD BE RUINOUS!!!
Yeah, pretty much.
So, if you — like me — have been…