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Total Articles: 76

Connecticut Passes Sweeping Changes to its Human Rights Laws

Executive Summary: In the continued fallout from the “me too” movement, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has signed new legislation imposing sweeping changes to Connecticut’s human rights law designed to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace and provide additional protections to victims of sexual harassment. The Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (the “Act”), which takes effect on October 1, 2019, expands the sexual harassment prevention laws by requiring additional training for employees and imposing new notice and posting requirements. Those making claims of sexual harassment and other discrimination claims will have increased remedies available to them. The following are the most significant changes to the Act that will directly affect employers on a daily basis. All employers, regardless of size, should take note of these changes and begin preparation for the new laws.

Time’s Up: Connecticut Employers to Prepare for New Sexual Harassment Training and Protections

On June 18, 2019, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Connecticut’s new sexual harassment prevention legislation, known as the Time’s Up Act. The law significantly broadens sexual harassment training requirements, extending them to all employers in the state, and toughens penalties for noncompliance. The law also enhances protections for employees who complain about sexual harassment in the workplace. Most of the new requirements will go into effect on October 1, 2019.

Paid Family Leave: A Headache For Connecticut Small Businesses

Originally published in the Connecticut Law Tribune, June 2019. As paid family leave sweeps across the nation, we anticipate more and more employees will use it and will stay out longer because they are getting paid.

Connecticut Expands Harassment Training and Posting Obligations for Employers

Nearly all employers in Connecticut will now have to provide sexual harassment training to employees under Connecticut Public Act No. 19-16, also referred to as the “Time’s Up Act,” an amendment to existing state law that Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law on June 18, 2019.

New Connecticut Law Addressing Sexual Harassment Imposes Additional Obligations on Employers

On June 18, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Substitute Senate Bill 3, publicly known as the “Time’s Up” bill and identified as Public Act 19-16.1 The law significantly changes the sexual harassment laws affecting Connecticut employers. A majority of these provisions will go into effect as of October 1, 2019.

Connecticut Set to Offer Most Generous Paid Family Leave Benefits in the Country

Connecticut continues to add to its roster of employee-friendly laws, leaving businesses throughout the state to figure out how best to address the resulting changes. The legislative session closed on June 5, 2019, with laws pertaining to paid family leave, sexual harassment training, whistleblower protections, and non-compete agreements awaiting likely signature by Governor Ned Lamont; a bill enacting changes to the state minimum wage law has already been signed.

It’s Official: Connecticut Minimum Wage Will Increase to $15.00 per Hour

On May 28, 2019, Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill No. 5004 The bill, entitled “An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage,” increases Connecticut’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour over the next approximately four years.

Connecticut to Join the Increasing Number of States Enacting a $15 Minimum Wage Law

With Governor Ed Lamont pledging to sign it into law, Connecticut will become the latest state to pass a $15.00 per hour minimum wage bill joining, among other states, its Northeast neighbors New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, in doing so.

Connecticut the Latest State to Increase the Statewide Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour

On May 17, 2019, Connecticut lawmakers passed House Bill 5004, “An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage,” which raises the state’s minimum wage, in increments, to $15 per hour by 2023. Governor Ned Lamont has pledged to sign the bill.

Connecticut Sets Course for $15 Minimum Wage

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont today signed into law a bill that will raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023.

Connecticut Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Accommodation

On April 23, 2019, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) issued a Best Practices Bluepaper as guidance for employers with three or more employees facing accommodation requests from employees for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.

Legislative Update on Proposed Labor and Employment Bills Affecting Connecticut Employers

As we move deeper into the 2019 legislative season, the Connecticut General Assembly is considering several proposed bills in the state House and Senate that—if enacted—would affect employers in significant ways. With a substantial Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate—and a newly elected Democratic governor—there is a good chance that several employee-friendly bills will pass this year, including a new paid family and medical leave program. Below is an overview of the more meaningful bills that were recently reported out of the Labor and Public Employees Committee for review and action by the full Connecticut House and Senate.

CT Employers: When Is The Last Time You Conducted Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training?

Connecticut employers with 50 or more employees have long been required to provide supervisors with sexual harassment training. Employers, however, often get tripped up on the timing of the training when an employee is promoted to a supervisory position. This is especially true in the first quarter of the year when promotions often take effect.

“You Wrote Me Up? I’m Writing You Up!” CT Employers – Don’t Forget To Let Employees Submit A Written Objection To Disciplinary Actions, Evaluations And Notices Of Termination

Even though the law in Connecticut has been on the books for over 5 years, we still come across employers who forget to tell their employees they have the opportunity to respond to write-ups, performance evaluations and/or notices of termination. Not only must employees have the opportunity to respond, they must be advised in writing of this right. Employers, consider this article your reminder!

CT Employers: As Of January 1, You Cannot Ask Applicants About Their Prior Salary!

Back in May, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 18-8, “An Act Concerning Pay Equity.” The law is part of the “Equal Pay” movement which has been sweeping the country aiming to bridge the gap between the genders and their respective paychecks. Its effective date is officially upon us.

Labor and Employment Law Changes Connecticut Saw in 2018 (And Some We Might See in 2019)

With strong initiatives making strides across the country like the #MeToo and Equal Pay movements, state and federal legislatures made some big changes in 2018. Connecticut was no exception. Lawmakers in Connecticut made several attempts to pass such progressive laws this year – some panned out, others didn’t. Below is a recap of what’s definitely changing in the new year and what hasn’t changed… yet.

Connecticut Court Rules in Favor of Medical Marijuana User in Discrimination Case

A recent U.S. district court decision in Connecticut shows that drug testing applicants and employees in jurisdictions that authorize the use of legalized medical marijuana may present challenges. On September 5, 2018, Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut issued an opinion granting a motion for summary judgment on an employment discrimination claim brought on the basis of a person’s use of medical marijuana as authorized by Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA).

Connecticut’s Pay Equity Law Prohibits Salary History Inquiries

As of January 1, 2019, Connecticut employers are prohibited from inquiring about prospective employees’ wage or salary histories. Connecticut’s new pay equity law is intended to promote equality in pay and close the wage gap. Under the new law, employers—defined as entities having “one or more employees”—are also prohibited from using a third party to inquire about any applicant’s wage or salary history. Employers may still inquire about the components of an applicant’s compensation structure—for example, retirement benefits or stock option plans—but they may not inquire about the value of any individual component.

In Review: 2017-18 Labor And Employment Decisions From Connecticut Supreme Court

The 2017-2018 Connecticut Supreme Court term was active in the area of labor and employment, with several important decisions.

Connecticut to Implement Mandatory IRA Program for Private-Sector Employees in 2019

The State of Connecticut has announced that in January 2019 it will begin requiring private-sector employers without their own workplace-based retirement plans to enroll employees in Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) sponsored by the state. The requirement stems from legislation enacted in 2016 that is intended to help employees save for retirement.

Zero-Tolerance Policy Didn't Justify Refusing to Hire Medical Marijuana User in Connecticut

A Federal District Court in Connecticut has held an employer liable for discrimination under Connecticut state law for rescinding an offer to an employee who tested positive for use of medical marijuana, even though the employer was a federal contractor applying its zero-tolerance drug-testing policy. See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn., Sept. 5, 2018).

More Buzz in Connecticut on Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

A Connecticut federal court judge provided further clarification for employers concerning Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA). In its second decision in Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company, LLC (Noffsinger II), the court further defined the contours of a PUMA discrimination claim, holding that federal law does not negate PUMA’s anti-discrimination protections and that certain damages are not recoverable under PUMA. This case is significant for employers because it explains the relationship between federal and Connecticut state laws concerning marijuana use and provides important guidance for employers that use drug testing in the workplace.

Connecticut Continues to Extend Protections to Employees under State Medical Marijuana Law, Rejects Federal Preemption Defense

A Connecticut federal court has issued another decision in the case of Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company LLC, further expanding protections to individuals who are qualified under Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA) to use marijuana. In 2017, the same court held that various federal laws prohibiting use and sale of marijuana do not prohibit employers from hiring individuals who use marijuana in compliance with state law.1 The decision, Noffsinger I, was also the first to imply a private cause of action under PUMA’s employment anti-discrimination provisions.

Refusing to Hire Medical Marijuana User Violates State Law, Connecticut Court Holds

Refusing to hire a medical marijuana user because she tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates Connecticut’s medical marijuana law, a federal court in Connecticut has held, granting summary judgment to the job applicant on her employment discrimination claim. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Nursing & Rehab. Ctr., No. 3:16-cv-01938, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018).

Connecticut Court Holds That Refusing To Hire Medical Marijuana User Constitutes Employment Discrimination

A federal court in Connecticut has held that refusing to hire a medical marijuana user who tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates the state’s medical marijuana law. The Court granted summary judgment to the applicant on her claim for employment discrimination but declined to award her attorneys’ fees or punitive damages. The Court also dismissed her claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Health & Rehab. Ctr., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018).

Are You An Employer In Connecticut? Do You Have 50 Employees? When Is The Last Time You Did Sexual Harassment Training?

Unless you have been living under a rock these last few months, you know sexual harassment claims are on the rise in every industry. We have seen this in all echelons of government, the judiciary, national sporting leagues, entertainment, and the restaurant industry to name a few. One way employers work to combat sexual harassment and create a culture in which such behavior is frowned upon is through training. Very few states require mandatory sexual harassment training. However, in Connecticut, training is mandatory for certain employers.

Connecticut Bans Inquiries into Applicants’ Wage and Salary History

Connecticut is the latest state to prohibit employers from asking prospective employees about past compensation. Effective January 1, 2019, employers may not ask (directly or through a third party) about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history unless the prospective employee volunteers the information.

Connecticut's New Pay Equity Bill Prohibits Questions Regarding Prospective Employees' Wage and Salary History

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed Public Act No. 18-8, “An Act Concerning Pay Equity,” into law on May 22, 2018, making Connecticut the sixth state to prohibit employers from asking applicants about salary history. California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont had previously adopted similar bans. The new Connecticut law will permit applicants to file lawsuits for damages and other remedies.

Are You Big Brother? You Are If You Use Electronic Monitoring!

In Connecticut, if you are an employer and engage in electronic monitoring you must post a notice to employees of the monitoring. But, what is electronic monitoring?

Your Employee Got A Jury Summons! What Must Connecticut Employers Do?

When an employee receives a jury summons in the mail, the employer too has obligations. While the employee’s absence during jury service may be inconvenient, employers are prohibited from dismissing, threatening, or coercing employees who are summoned for jury service. Employers should not even suggest the employee should try to avoid this call to duty.

Connecticut Supreme Court: Health Care Providers Can Be Sued for Unauthorized Disclosures of Confidential Information

Physician practices and other health care providers respond to numerous requests for confidential patient information from patients and others. Mistakes made by employees fulfilling such requests for medical records or making similar disclosures can expose the practice to civil litigation.

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.

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.

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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