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.
Articles about Connecticut Labor and Employment Law.
Connecticut Enacts Personal Social Media Protection; Oregon Poised to Add Twist to Its Law
Connecticut has become the 21st state to enact a law limiting an employer’s ability to access the personal social media accounts of job applicants and employees. The new law (Public Act 15-6), signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on May 19, 2015, will become effective on October 1, 2015, and applies to all private and public employers, regardless of size.
Changes to Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law Provide Some Relief to Employers
The Connecticut Paid Sick Leave legislation has been amended (1) to allow employers to determine the 50-employee applicability threshold in the same manner as under the state’s Family and Medical Leave Act, (2) to allow accrual of paid sick leave hours on any annual basis, not just a calendar year, and (3) to expand slightly the list of “service worker” titles that are the beneficiaries of the law.
Connecticut Amends Paid Sick Leave Statute to Provide Some Employer-Friendly Changes
Connecticut recently made several important revisions to its paid sick leave law in response to requests by businesses for clarification of the law’s requirements. On June 6, 2014, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law an amendment to Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Act (Act) that: 1) changes the method for determining if an employer is exempt from providing paid sick leave; 2) changes the time-frame for accruing paid sick leave and 3) adds radiologic technicians to the employees covered by the Act. The amendment, Public Act 14-128, will take effect on January 1, 2015.
Connecticut’s New Minimum Wage Law Includes Major Changes
Connecticut recently became the first state in the country to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by the year 2017, the same rate that President Barack Obama has been seeking for the federal minimum wage. Connecticut lawmakers passed the historic bill on March 26, 2014, and it was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy the following day. Connecticut had just voted to increase the minimum wage last year, to its current level of $8.70 per hour.
Connecticut to Increase Minimum Wage to $10.10 by 2017
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation to increase Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage incrementally to $10.10 over the next three years. The new maximum rate will become effective January 1, 2017.
Connecticut to Increase Minimum Wage in 2014 and 2015
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation to increase Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage over two years by $.75 to $9.00 by January 1, 2015.
Connecticut’s Governor Vetoes Restrictive Non-Compete Bill Due to Lack of Clarity
On Friday, July 12, 2013, Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy vetoed a bill that would have restricted the use of non-compete agreements in the context of mergers and acquisitions. The proposed bill, “An Act Concerning Employer Use of Noncompete Agreements,” Public Act No. 13-309 (the Act), would have voided non-compete agreements entered into, renewed, or extended when the agreement followed an acquisition or merger unless the employer provided the employee with a “reasonable period of time” (at least seven calendar days) to consider the non-compete agreement.
Connecticut Amends Personnel Files Access Law, Specifies How Quickly Access Must be Provided
The Connecticut Personnel Files Act gives employees in the state the right to inspect their personnel files. Governor Dannel Malloy has signed into law significant amendments to the Act that become effective October 1, 2013. Senate Bill 910 creates a distinction between current and former employees and expedites the time and manner in which both current and former employees are allowed access to their personnel files. Additionally, written disciplinary action carries with it added requirements. Significant changes are discussed below.
New Connecticut Law Restricts the Use of Non-Compete Agreements in Acquisitions and Mergers
On the final day of the most recent Connecticut legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill titled “An Act Concerning Employer Use of Noncompete Agreements” (the Act). Despite the broadly worded title, the ostensibly narrow focus of the Act is to restrict the use of non-compete agreements in the context of mergers and acquisitions. Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the Act into law on June 24, 2013. The new law, Public Act No. 13-309, will take effect on October 1, 2013.
Connecticut Adds Burdensome Requirements to Personnel File Statutes
Connecticut has added several burdensome obligations to state statutes that give employees the right to inspect, copy and rebut their personnel files. At the urging of legal aid lawyers and other employee advocates, the legislature passed Public Act No. 13-176 (the Act) despite strong opposition from organizations representing businesses. The Act amends Connecticut’s Personnel Files Act,1 which has been in effect since 1980. Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the Act into law on June 21, 2013. The new amendments will take effect on October 1, 2013.
Connecticut Enacts New Laws Expanding Protections for Veterans and Revising the State Military Leave Law
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy has signed two laws expanding benefits and protections to veterans. The first would reinstate eligibility for state benefits to any veterans discharged from the armed services, regardless of discharge classification, who were denied benefits solely based on their sexual orientation (Pub. Act 13-48). The second would revise current military leave protections to employees who are members of the state armed forces who take time from their employment to perform ordered military duty (Pub. Act 13-49). The laws become effective on 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.
Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act Does Not Apply to Employers with Fewer than 75 Employees within State
In a much-anticipated ruling, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held that employers in Connecticut are not subject to the provisions of the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act unless they employ at least 75 employees within the state. Velez v. Commissioner of Labor, et al., Nos. SC 18683 & 18684 (Sept. 25, 2012). The decision has broad implications for employers in Connecticut.
Connecticut Decision Highlights Importance of Identifying a Protectable Business Interest in Restrictive Covenants
A Connecticut state court recently found non-compete/non-solicitation agreements unreasonable and therefore unenforceable because the agreements did not protect any legitimate business interest. Creative Dimensions, Inc. v. Laberge is an unusual case in that the court found the agreements were reasonable in terms of their geographical and temporal restrictions, but nevertheless invalidated the agreements because they were inherently unfair to the employee-defendants. In reaching this conclusion, the court balanced the employee-defendants’ inability to work for 18 months against the employer’s failure to identify a protectable interest justifying the 18-month restriction.