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Total Articles: 47

What’s New in Connecticut? 3 Laws to Take Effect on October 1

The turning of the calendar to October in Connecticut means more than just leaf peeping and apple picking. For employers, October 1, 2017, is the date that several new laws impacting employers will go into effect. This year’s fall batch includes additional protections for pregnant employees, a new notice process for workers’ compensation claims, and clarification of the eligibility of certain professional drivers for unemployment benefits.

Connecticut Wage Regulations Bar Fluctuating Workweek Method in Calculating Overtime Pay for Retail Workers

State wage regulations promulgated by the Connecticut Department of Labor prohibit use of the “fluctuating work week” method of calculating overtime pay for mercantile (retail) employees, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held. Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., 326 Conn. 651 (Conn. 2017). The Court was responding to a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Connecticut Strengthens Protections for Pregnant Employees

Connecticut’s “An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace” strengthens considerably the workplace protections for pregnant employees and applies to employers who employ at least three employees. The Act takes effect on October 1, 2017.

New Connecticut Law Enhances Protections for Pregnant Employees

A new Connecticut law significantly enhances existing anti-discrimination protections for pregnant employees. “An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace,” (the “Act”) signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on July 6, 2017 and effective October 1, 2017, amends the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (the “CFEPA”) to modify existing protections and add a host of new protections for pregnant employees. The Act also provides broad definitions of the terms “pregnancy,” “reasonable accommodation,” and “undue hardship.”

Connecticut Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Independent Contractor Classification

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that an individual can be considered an independent contractor even if he or she provides services to only one employer. The court’s decision, which was officially released on March 21, 2017, is important for any Connecticut business that utilizes contractor services.

Connecticut ‘Ban the Box’ Law Effective January 1

Connecticut is the most recent state in the nation to implement statewide legislation prohibiting employers from making inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history at the onset of the employment process, except under certain circumstances.

Connecticut Federal Court Expands Title VII Protections to Sexual Orientation

In Boutillier v. Hartford Public Schools, No. 3:13-CV-01303-WWE (November 17, 2016), a Connecticut district court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation.

Connecticut Supreme Court Says You Can’t Smoke Marijuana at Work But it’s Not a Capital Offense

We previously wrote about Gregory Linhoff, an employee at the University of Connecticut Health Center, who was caught smoking marijuana in his employer issued van while at work. Not surprisingly, the Health Center terminated his employment. Mr. Linhoff was a member of the Union, and the Union filed a grievance to contest the discharge. Before the Supreme Court, the question presented was “whether the arbitrator’s award reinstating the grievant to employment after a lengthy unpaid suspension, with various conditions violates public policy.” The Court held it did not.

Do You Need to Provide Employees Time Off to Vote?

Election Day is rapidly approaching and voter turnout is expected to be particularly high. While many states have laws providing time off for employees to vote, Connecticut is not one of them. How should employers handle requests for time off to vote?

Labor and Employment Law Decisions in 2015-2016 from the Connecticut Supreme Court

The Connecticut Supreme Court term was again relatively quiet in the area of labor and employment, with only a few decisions that impact employers.

Connecticut's Highest Court Reinstates State Employee Fired for Smoking Marijuana at Work

The Supreme Court of Connecticut recently held, by a unanimous decision, that termination was not the only appropriate disciplinary action for a public employee who had been caught smoking marijuana during working hours. In so doing, the court found that despite the state’s “explicit, well-defined and dominant public policy against the possession and recreational use of marijuana in the workplace[,]” discipline less than termination could be appropriate. State of Connecticut v. Connecticut Employees Union Independent, No. 19590, Supreme Court of Connecticut (August 30, 2016).

Can an Employee Openly Smoke Pot at Work and Not Get Fired?

The Connecticut Supreme is about to decide if an employee can smoke pot on the job and not get fired. On March 31, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on this point in State of Connecticut v. Connecticut Employees Union Independent et. al.

It’s Time to Update Physician Noncompete Agreements in Connecticut

There have been a number of recent legislative developments that will impact physician noncompete agreements entered into in Connecticut. First, any physician noncompete agreement entered into on or after July 1, 2016, must comply with Public Act No. 16-95 (the Act), which was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on June 2, 2016. In short, the Act prohibits noncompete agreements that restrict physicians from competing for a period longer than 1 year or provide for a geographical restriction of more than 15 miles from the primary site where the physician practices. In addition, the Act provides that noncompete agreements will be enforceable only when a physician resigns or is discharged for cause. In other words, if an employer terminates a physician’s employment without cause, the physician is free to ignore the noncompete provision in his or her employment agreement.

Connecticut Bans Criminal History Box for Private Employers

Connecticut has become the ninth state to pass a law banning most private employers from asking criminal history questions on job applications. Effective January 1, 2017, Connecticut employers will not be able to ask about a prospective employee's prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial application.

Connecticut Authorizes Use of Payroll Cards to Pay Employees

On June 7, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a new statute authorizing employers to use payroll cards to pay employees. Previously, the Connecticut Department of Labor's position was such cards were not authorized under state law and could not be used. Connecticut now joins the majority of states in allowing this payment method.1

Connecticut Joins Ban the Box Movement

Connecticut has joined the “Ban the Box” movement, becoming the most recent state in the nation to implement statewide legislation prohibiting employers from making inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history on job applications, except under certain circumstances.

Connecticut Passes Ban-the-Box Legislation

On June 1, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a “ban-the-box” statute, which will take effect on January 1, 2017. The law, “An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment,” Public Act No. 16-83, prohibits covered employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an initial employment application.

Connecticut Joins Ban the Box Movement

Connecticut has joined the “Ban the Box” movement, becoming the most recent state in the nation to implement statewide legislation prohibiting employers from making inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history on job applications, except under certain circumstances.

New Connecticut Statute Restricts Physician Non-Compete Agreements

On June 2, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed Public Act 16-95, establishing significant new restrictions on physician non-compete agreements in Connecticut.

New Restrictions on Physician Non-Competes in Connecticut

A new Connecticut law significantly restricts the use of physician non-compete agreements. Public Act No. 16-95 (the “Act”), signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on June 2, 2016, limits the allowable duration and geographical scope of any new, amended, or renewed physician non-compete agreement. The law also states that physician non-compete agreements are unenforceable if the employer terminates the physician’s employment or the contractual relationship without cause. The new restrictions are set to take effect on July 1, 2016, so employers with physician non-competes are left with little time to assess the Act’s impact on their operations and to plan for compliance.

Connecticut Becomes the Third Jurisdiction in 2016 to "Ban the Box"

On June 1, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law that prohibits most employers from requesting criminal history information on an initial employment application. Connecticut’s new “ban-the-box” law follows closely on the heels of similar legislation enacted in Vermont and continues the nationwide ban-the-box trend.1 Indeed, ban-the-box laws have recently been enacted in other jurisdictions, including Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and New York City.2 Connecticut’s ban-the-box law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

New Connecticut Statute Restricts Physician Non-Compete Agreements

The Connecticut General Assembly has passed a bill that establishes significant new restrictions on physician non-compete agreements in the state. The governor is expected to sign the bill (Senate Bill 351, as amended) soon.

Connecticut Supreme Court Issues Landmark Favorable Ruling for Employers on Independent Contractor Status

In Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc. v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act, a case that will have significant implications for employers in Connecticut, the state’s supreme court clarified the “ABC Test,” finding that an employer is not required to pay unemployment contribution taxes for workers who contractually install heating and security systems in residential homes because they are independent contractors, not employees.

New Damages Standard for Connecticut Wage Claims Weighs Against Employers

A new Connecticut standard provides for the award of double damages and attorney’s fees to employees who prevail on claims under the state’s wage and hour statutes.

Connecticut Addresses E-Cigarettes and Vapor Products, Imposes Signage Requirements on Select Employers

Connecticut has passed a new law regulating electronic nicotine delivery systems and vapor products in various venues, including numerous places of employment. Effective October 1, 2015, Public Act No. 15 206 (the Act) supersedes and preempts any relevant provisions of municipal laws or ordinances regarding the use of these products.

UBS Whistleblower Protected Under Broadly Interpreted State Constitution Provisions

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that, under the state constitution, employee speech relating to official job duties on "certain matters of significant public interest" is protected from employer discipline in a public workplace, and that those protections extend to employees in private workplaces.

Connecticut Bolsters Employee Whistleblower Protection

Based on a new and unique interpretation of the state constitution, the Connecticut Supreme Court has greatly increased the potential exposure of employers to damage claims by whistleblowers. In Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors LLC, et al. (October 5, 2015), the court removed a key defense that was previously available to employers sued under Connecticut General Statute § 31-51q.

New Procedures at Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities

For the second time in five years, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) will implement significant changes to its procedures for processing discrimination complaints, under Public Acts 15-249 and 15-5. These changes, including the availability of quick dispute resolution, take effect October 1, 2015.

Connecticut Becomes Latest State to Protect Employee Online Accounts From Employer Inquiries

We have regularly reported on states as far flung as Rhode Island, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin passing laws limiting employers’ ability to check their employees’ and applicants’ online accounts. Effective October 1, 2015, Connecticut employers join the list of those generally restricted from accessing the social media accounts of their employees and applicants.

Two Significant Changes to Law Surrounding Internships

Connecticut employers need to be aware of two significant changes in the law surrounding internships. The first is a new state statute including unpaid interns in the protections afforded to employees with respect to discrimination and harassment. This law goes into effect on October 1, 2015. Employers should update their handbooks and training materials to ensure that interns receive the same protections as employees with respect to discrimination and harassment. They should also ensure that internship opportunities are not advertised in a manner that would discriminate against members of protected classes. (Last year, the New York City Council made a similar amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law.)

Connecticut State Contractors, Health Insurance Industry Businesses Subject to Enhanced Significant Data Security Mandates

In June, Connecticut’s governor signed into law Senate Bill 949 which amended the State’s breach notification statute. The requirement that covered businesses must provide one year of identity theft protection services for certain breaches, easily the most popular aspect of the legislation, may have diverted attention from some significant aspects of this new law.

Employees Permitted To Openly Discuss Wages in Connecticut

On July 2, 2015, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 15-196, entitled An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness (the Act). The Act is effective as of July 1, 2015 and limits an employer’s ability to discourage employees from having open discussions about their wages.

Connecticut Restricts Employer Access to Personal Social Media, E-mail and Online Retail Accounts of Employees and Applicants

On May 19, 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a new statute restricting an employer’s ability to gain access to social media, e-mail and other personal online accounts of employees and job applicants. Connecticut is the twentieth state to enact such legislation. Connecticut’s law generally is in line with similar state laws, having no outlier provisions that could pose a particular compliance challenge for multistate employers.

Connecticut Restricts Employer Access to Personal Social Media, E-mail and Online Retail Accounts of Employees and Applicants

On May 19, 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a new statute restricting an employer’s ability to gain access to social media, e-mail and other personal online accounts of employees and job applicants. Connecticut is the twentieth state to enact such legislation. Connecticut’s law generally is in line with similar state laws, having no outlier provisions that could pose a particular compliance challenge for multistate employers.

Have You Provided Proper Notice of Connecticut’s Revised Mandatory Paid Sick Leave?

Connecticut’s paid sick leave law became effective in 2012, but recent amendments went into effect in January 2015

Labor and Employment Law Decisions in 2013-14 from the Connecticut Supreme Court

This Connecticut Supreme Court term was again relatively quiet in the area of labor and employment, with only three decisions that impact employers, and the labor and employment advice attorneys give their clients.

Governor Vetoes Connecticut Non-Compete Legislation

Non-compete legislation in Connecticut took a wild ride this year. The Connecticut General Assembly initially considered a bill that would have required all employers using non-competes to provide a ten-day consideration period and would have allowed employees to sue for damages they are denied this opportunity. The legislature ultimately passed a substantially scaled back version that applied only in the context of mergers and acquisitions. To everyone’s surprise, Governor Malloy then vetoed that legislation, saying it was too vague.

Commercial Driver Fired for Driving Under the Influence Eligible for Unemployment Benefits According to Connecticut Supreme Court

Tuxis Ohr’s Fuel Inc. v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act, No. 18791 (July 30, 2013): The Connecticut Supreme Court recently addressed whether an employee who lost his commercial driver’s license for driving under the influence of alcohol while off duty and, as a result, was discharged from a job for which that license was required, was entitled to unemployment compensation. In a result that may come as a surprise to most employers, the court found that the employee was entitled to unemployment benefits.

Connecticut Governor Vetoes Non-Compete Bill

Last month, the Connecticut state legislature passed a bill that would have regulated the use of noncompete agreements. The bill would have applied in the context of a merger or acquisition of an employer, where, as a result of the merger or acquisition, an employee was presented with a noncompete agreement as a condition of continued employment. In those circumstances, the employer would have been required to provide the employee with a written copy of the agreement, as well as at least seven days to consider the merits of entering into the agreement. The passage of the bill was significant, as it would have represented the first time Connecticut has enacted legislation broadly regulating the use of non-competition agreements by employers (existing statutes apply only to broadcast employees and security guards).

Connecticut Amends Personnel File Law – What You Need to Know to Avoid Fines

The General Assembly just passed significant changes to the state’s personnel file statute. The law goes into effect on October 1, 2013.

Significant Changes to Connecticut’s Personnel File Law

On June 21, 2013, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a measure that makes major changes to Connecticut’s Personnel Files Act. The new law changes employer response times to personnel file requests, imposes new rules requiring employers to provide employees with copies of certain disciplinary documents, and gives employees the right to respond to employer documentation with their own statements. The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2013.

Updates Regarding Non-Compete Agreements in Connecticut

A new Connecticut law places some restrictions on the use of non-compete agreements in the context of employer mergers and acquisitions. Under the new law, if an employer is acquired by or merges with another employer and presents an employee with a non-compete agreement as a condition of continued employment, the employer must provide the employee with a written copy of the non-compete agreement and a “reasonable period of time” of at least seven calendar days to consider the agreement. If the employer does not take these steps, the non-compete agreement will be void. The employee may waive this right by signing a waiver before entering the agreement if the waiver is a separate document from the agreement itself and explains the right that the employee is waiving. These requirements apply only to non-compete agreements entered into, renewed, or extended on or after October 1, 2013.

Proposed Connecticut Law Would Strip Employers’ Right to Discipline Employees for Speech Made Within the Scope of Employment

In Connecticut, a private employer’s right to discipline an employee for speech made within the scope of his employment and as part of his official duties was established when the Connecticut Supreme Court issued its ruling in Schumann v. Dianon Systems, Inc., 43 A.3d 111, 304 Conn. 585 (Conn. 2012). In Schumann, the Connecticut Supreme Court applied to the private sector the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S 410 (2006), which applied to public employers. In Garcetti, the U.S. Supreme Court held that employee speech that related to his or her job duties was not protected by the First Amendment.

Hostile Work Environments Based on Any Protected Status Are Unlawful in Connecticut

Although sexual harassment is the kind of harassment we hear about most, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently affirmed that the state antidiscrimination statute applies to harassment based on other protected statuses, even though it appears to single out sexual harassment.

Connecticut Employers – What Does the New Medical Marijuana Law Mean for You?

Connecticut is poised to become the 17th state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, although all marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. How will it impact the workplace?

New Connecticut Law Mandates Paid Sick Leave

A new Connecticut law, which will become effective on January 1, 2012, requires a certain amount of paid sick leave for many Connecticut employees. This historic law makes Connecticut the first state to require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Below are the key aspects of the statute

Connecticut Poised to Become First State to Mandate Paid Sick Leave

As state governments across the country scramble to plug large holes in their own budgets, they are digging deeper into employers' pockets. Earlier this week, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation that will require employers within the service sector (and with more than 50 employees) to provide paid sick leave to their employees, making the state the first in the country to pass such legislation. (The Connecticut governor has indicated his signature soon will follow.)
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