Don’t believe the hype — Valentine’s Day may be for lovers, but for employers, it’s only trouble. Indeed, back in 2011, I highlighted the perils of Valentine’s Day for employers recapping various cases in which Valentine’s Day played a central role. Given the day, I thought I would reprint it today as a reminder —
Let’s face it — the internet is now filled with click-bait — that is, headlines written so you will click on it, just like the one above. Buzzfeed was a master at it with such gems as:
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.
(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
Last week, we talked about an employer’s obligations when it comes to an employee who has cancer. But what about an employee’s spouse? Does the employer have any legal obligations there?
Let’s start first with a story:
Jake and his supervisor, Alex, have had a great working relationship but lately, things seems to have changed. At least that’s how Jake sees is after he told Alex that his wife is suffering from a long-term disability — cancer.
Although Jake has been a good performer for years, Alex has recently expressed his concern that Jake will not be able to satisfy the demands of the job due to the need to care for his wife. Alex begins to set unrealistic deadlines for projects for Jake and even yells at Jake in front of co-workers about the need to meet the deadlines.
Alex also began requiring Jake to meet company policies that have never been strictly followed, such as giving 2 weeks advance notice of leave. Now, Alex has removed Jake from team projects because Jake’s co-workers don’t think Jake can be counted on to complete his share of work “considering all of his wife’s medical problems.
Jake is frustrated. He’s complained to management but to no avail. Now what?
At first glance, you might think this is a FMLA issue; taking time off for a family member’s serious health condition is one of the key points of the FMLA. But a deeper look shows that’s not really what’s going on. This doesn’t have to do with leave.
Instead, it seems that the supervisor is treating an employee differently because of his relationship with someone who has a disability. The question is — is there a legal claim?
According the EEOC, there is.
Indeed, given this above scenario, the EEOC concluded in Q&A release that “the employer is liable for harassment on the basis of [Jake’s] association with an individual with a disability.” In other words, the employee may have a claim under the ADA.Continue Reading The “Association” Game: How a Spouse’s Cancer May be Covered by the ADA
Clooney’s character was single (really, would you expect otherwise?) and business travel was a bit glamorous (though a bit tedious as well).
Perhaps not surprisingly, absent from the movie was a discussion of whether business travel could be the…