The Connecticut Appellate Court issued a new decision (officially released today) that will have important ramifications for employers proceeding with the CHRO mandatory mediation stage. Specifically, based on this ruling, most settlement discussions during the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ mediation stage will be inadmissible in a later court proceeding. The decision also holds
Why Employment Settlement Agreements Contain Confidentiality Clauses
This blog has tried to stay apolitical throughout its 12+ years so I’m not going to start talking politics now.
But, over the last week, the issue of confidentiality provisions and non disparagement clauses in settlement agreements of discrimination claims has moved front and center of the political debate between Senator Elizabeth Warren and Michael…
When Your Employee Gets the Wrong Advice From “Attorney” Google
So, a couple of months back, I talked about how separation agreements for small employers might not be covered by the federal law that covers such agreements.
After all, since the Age Discrimination in Employment Act only applied to employers that have 20 or more employees, the requirements for a “knowing and voluntary waiver”…
An Explainer Video on OWBPA-Compliant Separation Agreements
As I keep trying new things for the blog, today I introduce an “explainer” video. You’ve seen them before; it’s a short movie explaining a subject.
Today’s topic is one I’ve touched on from time to time — separation agreements that comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act.
Let me know what you…
Settlement Agreement Provisions To Consider When Settling Discrimination Claims
A few days ago, I came across a thoughtful post from Work Matters, a longtime blog run by Michael Maslanka.
In it, Mike describes a clause in a settlement agreement to get around an issue that sometimes arises — how do you minimize the…
The Never-Ending Employment Law Case and the Hour-Long Commute
Some cases are easy to explain in a short blog post.
This is not one of them.
But a new Connecticut Appellate Court case released today, Grasso v. Connecticut Hospice, Inc. (download here) has too many nuggets of information to pass up. It is an example to employers about how cases never truly seem to be over in this litigious climate and that details are important — even in settlement agreements.
Here are the background facts:
- Plaintiff employee worked as an employee for the hospice from 1998-2010.
- In 2009, she filed two complaints with OSHA regarding some defective chairs. The administration ordered the hospice to repair the chairs.
- Later that year, the Plaintiff then filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA claiming that she had been retaliated against and harassed since the filing of the OSHA complaints. The administration found “reasonable cause” to believe a violation had occurred.
- Thus in January 2010, the Hospice and Plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement on the whistleblower complaint where she worked as a part time employee in two offices. The agreement contained a release of future claims for events that occurred prior to the execution of the agreement.
- End of story, right? Wrong. One week later, the Plaintiff-Employee wrote to the company and alleged that they were breaching the settlement agreement. Later that year, she quits.
- You know what happens next, right? She filed a six-count complaint in Superior Court alleging a whistleblower violation, breach of the settlement agreement, breach of the employee handbook and claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendant filed a counterclaim asking for declaratory judgment on the release she signed. The Superior Court granted summary judgment to the employer.
The legal rulings
- The first part of the ruling is a procedural one. The Plaintiff appealed the court’s decision on her claims but not the counterclaims. Thus, part of her claims of a breach of the employee handbook are not considered by the Appellate Court.
Continue Reading The Never-Ending Employment Law Case and the Hour-Long Commute
The “Standard” Provisions in an Employment Settlement Agreement
The title of this post is, of course, a bit misleading. Any lawyer will tell you that each employment case you may have is unique and that any settlement must take into account the facts and circumstances of the particular case.
All true. And, if your company is negotiating a settlement, you ought to have…
“If You Don’t Quit (and Sign a Release), You’re Fired”: Court Upholds Agreement; Says It Is Not “Undue Influence”
From time to time, employers are faced with a quandary: When an employee has not been following the rules, do I fire the employee straight up? Or do I give the employee an opportunity to resign first, and potentially sign a settlement agreement?
Why might an employer do that? Well, it allows the employee to save face…