So last week I provided a recap of a few of the labor & employment law bills still being kicked around the legislature. From talking with a few folks in on the process, here are some other bills to keep an eye on (whether in this original form or as an amendment to an existing
Sharon Palmer, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor, will retire at the end of this year, news that was first reported by the CT Mirror website.
According to CT Mirror:
In an interview, she described her decision to retire as driven by age and circumstance, not politics or a consequence of overseeing the
Over the weekend, I asked my colleague, Chris Engler, to think of any employment law lessons that could be divined from the victories of the UConn Men’s Basketball team. He reminds us in the post below that preparation still matters. Of course, this isn’t the first time this blog has written about the UConn Huskies (see 2009 and 2011). Will 2014 bring another championship?
This past weekend, the UConn men’s hoops team reminded us that hard work and thorough preparation can prevail in a contest that looks tough to win on paper. A recent federal court decision shows that those same qualities serve Connecticut employers well too.
The alleged facts are told in the court’s decision: Martin Donovan, a longtime Yale University administrator, was terminated back in 2010 after an investigation revealed numerous problems with his management style. Donovan sued for age discrimination based on three comments by his supervisors.
The background facts are important. A few months before his termination, when Donovan was 61 years old, his supervisor asked him about rumors that he was planning to retire. When Donovan vehemently denied the rumors, the supervisor expressed relief that Donovan would continue working.
Previously, another supervisor had commented on other employees’ ages in Donovan’s presence. The supervisor first conveyed his satisfaction that an accountant left and was replaced by “someone younger.” Later, the supervisor mentioned that a researcher was too old for his research to be valid.
Despite these comments, the federal court for the District of Connecticut concluded that they weren’t enough to show age discrimination. In doing so, the court provided some insight into how an employer can avoid an age discrimination claim. (Readers, get out your notepads.)
First, the court highlighted the thoroughness of the investigation into Donovan’s managerial problems. The investigators were theoretically impartial, being from another Yale unit, and they interviewed and observed nearly every employee in the department. This convinced the court that these problems weren’t just a pretext.
That brings us to Takeaway #1: Thoroughly investigate and document performance issues, such as Donovan’s managerial problems, as soon as they arise. Yale’s comprehensive investigation was its saving grace in this case.
On a related note, here’s Takeaway #1a: An employer probably has more pressure to conduct a solid investigation if there was a recent incident involving an employee’s protected status. To try to show a pretext, Donovan emphasized that his termination came mere months after the retirement conversation. While the court here wasn’t convinced, another court viewing somewhat different facts might be. Again, consistent and accurate documentation of issues should avoid this dilemma.
On the surface, the premise of this column would seem to be a thinly-veiled attempt to work in the retirement of the greatest closer that ever played baseball — Mariano Rivera — into a post.
But I’ve actually had a few discussions about the…
At a press conference later today, legendary UConn Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun is expected to announce his retirement. He has been such a fixture in this state, not only for basketball, but for his charitable work, that it’s hard to imagine the team without him.
His contract, which you can download here,…
It’s rare for a case from Connecticut to make it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. But this week, a case did just that.
I’ve previously discussed the case of Cigna v. Amara in many posts which you can read here. The case ultimately concerns the receipt of retirement benefits and…
Regardless of your political leanings, Senator Chris Dodd — who announced on Wednesday that he will not seek re-election this November — may long be remembered by employers as the Senator instrumental in the passage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
Indeed, in 1993, he authored the FMLA bill that was…