Last night, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7PP which, for the most part, confirms what many of us have been expecting for the last week or so.   As I’ve said before, the first round of reopening businesses remains on track for tomorrow (May 20th) but there have been more tweaks over the last day

Updated 10:15a, May 9, 2020

Late Friday afternoon, Governor Lamont announced that Phase I reopenings will occur as soon as May 20, 2020.  These will include “non-essential” offices that had been closed, restaurants, retail stores and hair salons.  Early on Saturday, we also got all the detailed rules that will need to be met to

Today (April 30th) was filled with more news for employers and, for the first time in a while, some of it was hopeful.

Governor Ned Lamont gave the broad outline of a plan to reopen the state (as I predicted early this morning) though the plan’s details depend on control of the pandemic.

We are still “a few weeks” away from the time when Connecticut starts to relax the “Stay Safe. Stay Home” requirements.  (Officially, the rules are set to expire on May 20, 2020 and Governor Lamont has indicated that some businesses will reopen then.) But, beyond the recommendations of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Board, which

Let’s face it: Trying to keep up with all the pandemic-related employment rules released by the state only to see them modified again and again, is challenging to say the least.

And yet, the Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers have been modified yet again Tuesday night by the Department of Economic and Community Development,

Governor Lamont late Friday issued new Executive Order 7BB, making it mandatory that everyone wear a mask or cloth face-covering in any public place where he or she is unable to maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet.

The EO goes into effect on Monday, April 20th at 8 p.m. and

What a long drive the last four weeks have been. Today marks officially marks four weeks for me working from home.

That’s an anniversary that I really didn’t want to celebrate. Sometimes it feels like the road back to “normal” is a long way off.

And perhaps more ominously, Governor Lamont yesterday indicated that he

Wednesday evening is the first night of Passover — one of my favorite Jewish holidays. (And, not surprisingly, not the first time I’ve written about it.)

Why? Traditionally, it is one of the few times the entire extended family gets together and celebrates with great homemade food.

Think matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, hard-boiled

loveWhile the calendar may read Valentine’s Day, I’ve tackled more than my fair share of love-themed posts in the past filled with roses and chocolates.

So instead, I’m going to go in a different direction entirely: Guns. (Though query whether the music group Guns ‘n’ Roses would care to disagree with me.)

See, there was

An employee who contended that he was fired after complaining about a physically threatening co-worker cannot bring a wrongful discharge claim, in a decision released by the Connecticut District Court.  The case, Ferrer v. T.L. Cannon Management Corp. (download here), does suggest, however, a way for employees to bring such claims in the future — with some artful language in the complaint. 

Readers of this blog will be aware  that Connecticut is an at-will employment state, absent some contractual promises or some other exception that may apply. In general terms, that means is that an employee can quit any time for any reason and that an employer can fire the employee at any time for any reason (so long as it’s not an illegal one such as race, gender, etc.) 

Two Connecticut Supreme Court cases are required reading for this concept: Sheets v. Teddy’s Frosted Food, Inc. 179 Conn. 471, 427 A.2d 385 (1980), and Parsons v. United Technologies Corp. 243. Conn. 66, 89, 700 A.2d 655 (1997).  [Disclosure: I worked on the Parsons matter.] 

Those cases created a notable exception to the at will standard:

  • In Sheets, the Court held that an at-will employee may sue for wrongful discharge if he is fired for complaining about, or refusing to participate in, his employer’s violation of public policy.
  • In Parsons, the Court ruled that the public policy embodied in the state statute requiring employers “to exercise reasonable care to provide for [their] servants a reasonably safe place in which to work,” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31- 49, provides grounds for a wrongful discharge claim when an atwill employee is fired for refusing to work in conditions posing
    an “objectively substantial risk of death, disease or serious bodily injury.”

So, in the Ferrer case, the District Court was asked to extend the Parsons exception to a situation where the employee was allegedly discharged after informing his manager that a co-worker threw a punch at him and missed. The complaint also alleged that the co-worker assaulted another employee about a year earlier.


Continue Reading Court Examines The Parameters of the Public Policy Requiring Employers to Provide a Reasonably Safe Workplace