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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 Supreme Court Upholds Fluctuating Workweek Method . . . but Not for Retail Employees

The Connecticut Supreme Court’s holding in Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., No. SC 19829 (August 17, 2017) is a mixed bag for Connecticut employers. While the court held that Connecticut law does not generally prohibit an employer’s use of the fluctuating workweek method to calculate a nonexempt employee’s hourly overtime rate, it also held that a Connecticut Department of Labor wage order does prohibit its use in connection with mercantile employees, which includes retail employees.

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.

No Fluctuating Workweek for Retail Employees Paid by Commission, Connecticut Supreme Court Rules

Employers in Connecticut may not use the "fluctuating workweek" method of calculating overtime for retail employees who are paid a commission as part of their earnings, for delivery drivers or for sales merchandisers.

Connecticut Medical Marijuana Law Protects Job Applicant Who Failed Drug Test

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a federal court has held that the federal marijuana ban does not preempt a Connecticut law protecting job applicants and employees from employment discrimination based on medical marijuana use.

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.”

Tip Credit Does Not Apply to Delivery Drivers Declares Connecticut Supreme Court

In a decision released on April 4, 2017, the Connecticut Supreme Court found that employers cannot take advantage of a “tip credit” for delivery drivers in order to meet the state minimum wage.

Connecticut Supreme Court Holds Restaurant-Employer May Not Use ‘Tip Credit’ for Delivery Drivers

Finding the Connecticut Department of Labor regulations on tip credit are “not incompatible” with the state tip credit law, the Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that an employer’s pizza delivery drivers are not subject to a tip credit. Amaral Brothers, Inc. v. Department of Labor, No. SC 19622 (Apr. 4, 2017).

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.