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General Assembly Passes New Minimum Wage; Governor’s Approval Expected

Earlier this morning (Friday, May 17th), the state Senate approved of a measure that will increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023. House Bill 5004 (as amended) can be downloaded here. The bill had previously passed the House and now moves to the Governor’s office where he is expected to sign it. There are several key components to the bill that are important for employers. YEARLY INCREASES TO MINIMUM WAGE The bill increases the minimum wage from the current level of $10.10 per ...
Tags: Law, Labor, Senate, Minimum Wage, Restaurant, House, Connecticut, Hotel, Wage, Increase, General Assembly, Minimum, Minors, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Wage & Hour, Legislative Developments

Five Questions With … Central Park Executive Coaching CEO Eileen Springer

Continuing my never-ending series of short interviews with interesting people related to the employment law space, I recently sat down for breakfast with Eileen Springer, the CEO of Central Park Executive Coaching. After 25+ years in Human Resources, Eileen is now coaching C-suite executives and senior leaders in corporations and services firms, as well as early-in-career associates. Her Coaching assignments include on-boarding coaching, transition coaching, performance coaching and leadership c...
Tags: Law, Executive Coaching, HR, Manhattan, Citibank, Coaching, Springer, Executive, Pitney Bowes, Eileen, Leadership Coaching, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, C-Suite, Featured Content, MeToo

Spotting the Employment Law Issues in Avengers: Endgame

So like nearly all of America, my family saw Avengers: Endgame this weekend. (Minor Spoiler Ahead!) Of course, we laughed. We cried.  And it was definitely better than Cats.   All the while thinking of the employment law issues that are just under the surface. You can take the employment lawyer out of the office, but you can’t take the employment law out of an employment lawyer.  In fact, it was way back in 2012, that I first talked about the employment law issues with the Avengers.  (Seriously:...
Tags: Law, Marvel, America, Ada, Avengers, Banner, Hulk, Accommodations, EEOC, Bruce Banner, FMLA, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Featured Content, Avengers Endgame, Professor Hulk

BREAKING: CHRO Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

Late on Tuesday (April 23, 2019) the CHRO released new Legal Enforcement Guidance on “Pregnancy, Childbirth, or Related Conditions at Work”.  Or you might call it a “Bluepaper” instead – as a “one-pager” on the subject called it. That one-pager was prepared by the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization seemingly with the blessing and approval of the CHRO which also posted it to its website late Tuesday. So is it a Bluepaper or G...
Tags: Law, Pregnancy, Disability, Guidance, Poster, Ada, Connecticut Department of Labor, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Cchro, Chro, Reasonable Accommodation, Lactation, Pregnancy Discrimination, Featured Content

What We Can Learn in Connecticut From New EEOC Statistics

Earlier this month, the EEOC released its statistics regarding charges for 2018.  I love looking at these because there are certain trends that always pop out. (You can see some prior years here and here.) Here are five big takeaways that employers in Connecticut can learn from these numbers. Charges Continue to Go Down — a Lot.  For the seventh year in a row, the number of charges processed by the EEOC continued to go down.  In 2018, the EEOC handled 76,418 charges, a 9.3 percent drop from 201...
Tags: Law, Trends, Data, Connecticut, Statistics, Sexual Harassment, Down, EEOC, Retaliation, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Chro, Charges, Featured Content, EEOC Statistics, Retaliation Claims Continue

Employment Law-Related Bills Continue Springing Along in General Assembly

If April Showers bring May…Oh never mind. In Connecticut, April might as well mean that the General Assembly is getting serious about the bills under consideration.  All the proposals that make headlines in February mean nothing until committees start to vote on the bills and the bills start getting the spotlight on them. Usually by now, we start to see a significant fall off between aspirational goals and practical bills. Not this year. Right now, however, it feels like there is still so much i...
Tags: Voting, Law, Unions, Senate, Bills, Training, Connecticut, Bill, Sexual Harassment, Free Speech, General Assembly, Senate Bill, FMLA, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Wage & Hour, CHRO & EEOC

When Attendance is Essential, Intermittent Extended Leave is Not Reasonable

The Connecticut Appellate Court has an interesting case coming out officially early next week about an employer’s obligations to provide leave as a “reasonable accommodation”. You can download Barbabosa v. Board of Education here. In it, the Court concludes that when attendance is an essential function of the job (as it will be for most jobs), an employee’s request for intermittent extended leave — that is, more days off — is not a reasonable accommodation under the state’s anti-discrimination l...
Tags: Law, Court, Disability, Leave, Ada, Function, Don, Board of Education, FMLA, Appellate Court, Attendance, Performance Review, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Ctfmla

On “1099 Employees” and “Full-Time Freelancers” and Other Oxymorons

There are certain expressions in the employment law world that don’t make much sense.   Call them: Employment Law Oxymorons. At least for me, hearing an employer ask what they should do about their “1099 Employees” is one of them. Let’s back up one step: Employees are paid wages and as such, they get issued a W-2 tax form at the end of the year. Independent contractors are paid fees and as such, they should be issued a 1099 tax form. See the difference? So when someone says a “1099 employee”, ...
Tags: Law, Irs, Employee, Independent Contractor, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Wage & Hour, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, 1099, W-2, Featured Content, Factors, Oxymoron, 1099 Employee, Employee Misclassificaiton, Full Time Freelance

The Dialogue: Listening to Employee-Side Attorneys For Employer Tips About #MeToo

Readers of the blog will no doubt know that it’s been far too long since I had Nina Pirrotti on the blog for a conversation about employment law topics. Excuses abound, but Nina — who mainly represents individuals in employment-related disputes — recently penned a piece for the Connecticut Law Tribune that is too good to let more time pass. So, knowing still that titling a piece a “Dialogue” while just offering up a link to her piece is less than ideal, it’s important that we move beyond labels ...
Tags: Harassment, Law, Training, Sexual Harassment, Nina, Connecticut Law Tribune, Dialogue, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Discrimination & Harassment, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Nina Pirrotti, Pirrotti, Featured Content, MeToo, Hotel and Hospitality, Allofus

Former Regional Manager Pekah Wallace Sues CHRO Challenging Her Firing

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity (CHRO) was sued yesterday by its longtime (and former) Regional Manager Pekah Wallace.  The federal lawsuit claims her employment termination was improper and provides a whole host of information about what has been going on behind the scenes at the agency. You can download the complaint here.   (As with all new lawsuits, my standard warning applies — these are allegations in a complaint, not a determination from a court.) I’ll leave it ...
Tags: Lawsuit, Law, Sharp, Termination, Litigation, U S District Court, Wallace, Hughes, Plaintiffs, Retaliation, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Cchro, Chro, Michael Shea, Featured Content

Three Employment Law Tips for Startups and New Business Ventures

Later today, I’ll be speaking to the next group of startups chosen to participate in the Accelerator for Biosciences in Connecticut, or ABCT.  ABCT is a Branford-based program spearheaded by Design Technologies LLC, which supports Connecticut’s aim of being a bioscience hub. It’s an exciting time for new businesses in Connecticut like those chosen to participate in the program. But employment law issues are often an after-thought for startups.  They shouldn’t be. I’ll be talking in more detail ...
Tags: Startups, Accelerator, Law, Startup, Companies, United States, Connecticut, Contract, Employment law, Biotech, Branford, NDA, Ventures, BioScience, Documentation, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

OMG! The New Overtime Rules are Lit! (Or, Not)

Sometime soon, your e-mail inboxes are going to be bombarded from attorneys telling you that you need to pay attention NOW to new overtime rules by the U.S. Department of Labor.  ROFL.   At least based on what we know now, it’s best taking a lesson from my teenagers and ignoring the messages and hype (and all the text abbreviations too.)  SMH.  Late last week, Bloomberg news reported that the DOL is considering changing the rules regarding who is eligible to receive overtime by increasing the sa...
Tags: Law, Obama, Bloomberg, Overtime, Trump, White Collar, U S Department of Labor, Department of Labor, SMH, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Mego, Featured Content, Salary Test

Four Ways the New Paid FMLA Bill is Bigger Than You Realize

It seems likely that some type of paid Family and Medical Leave (otherwise known as “Paid FMLA”) bill is going to pass the General Assembly. CBIA recently posted about the pitfalls that await employers with passage with one CBIA staff testifying that “small businesses are terrified of this proposal.”   But the “paid” aspect of the bill is only one part. I’m not going to cover that in this post, but there are plenty of resources already on what it might mean. What hasn’t been widely reported is t...
Tags: Law, Connecticut, Employer, Bill, General Assembly, Number, Lamont, FMLA, Reason, Wage & Hour, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Legislative Developments, Ctfmla, Connecticut FMLA, Cbia, Paid Fmla

DOL vs. DRS: Battle of the Employee / Independent Contractor Misclassification Tests

Employers who want to (or need to) use independent contractors often scratch their heads at a disconnect – how do you determine who is an independent contractor?  I recall at one speaking engagement years ago, an employer who came up to me and asked: “So are you saying that there are TWO tests to determining if someone is an independent contractor?” Yes, that’s exactly what I was saying. The Connecticut Department of Labor and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (the state equivalent ...
Tags: Law, Irs, Shipman Goodwin, Department of Labor, DRS, Connecticut Department of Labor, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Misclassification, Abc Test, Featured Content, Control Test, Factor Test, Indpedent Contractor

Busy General Assembly Session for 2019 Just Getting Started (Part 2)

Yesterday, I tackled the bills floating around the Senate-side of the Connecticut General Assembly,  In today’s post, let’s look at the House side to see what bills are under consideration there: House Bill 5003 is the mirror-image bill of Senate Bill 1 on Paid Family & Medical Leave.  Yesterday’s post gave the highlights, which apply equally to this bill too. Similarly, proposed House Bill 5004 would raise the minimum wage in the state. The details are still to be drafted, but the CBIA has bee...
Tags: Law, Senate, Training, Minimum Wage, House, Judiciary, Applications, Age Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Senate Bill, Janus, Connecticut General Assembly, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Wage & Hour, Discrimination & Harassment, Legislative Developments

Busy Legislative Session Has Lots of Employment Law Bills On Tap (Part 1)

The Connecticut General Assembly is already busy with a full compliment of employment law bills under consideration.  At this point, it seems likely that several will pass in one form or another and thus employers should be playing close attention to the developments. Here are a few of the Senate ones that I’m watching (I’ll tackle the House bills in tomorrow’s post): Senate Bill 1 – This is the Paid Family and Medical Leave bill that has been kicking around for a few years.  Late last week, th...
Tags: Law, Senate, Restaurants, Bills, Legislation, Service, House, Scheduling, Sexual Harassment, Equal Pay, Shift, Senate Bill, Confidentiality, Connecticut General Assembly, Paid Leave, Wage & Hour

RIFs, WARN, OWBPA, Disparate Impact – An Alphabet Soup for a Future Downturn

In my prior post, I wondered aloud whether there were some rough waters ahead for employers.  Apple recently announced that it would not meet it’s earnings estimates in the first quarter of 2019, in part because of soft demand from China. Other companies are expected to announce some similar issues. Honestly, I’ve had enough conversations in the last few years with HR professionals who just haven’t lived through a major downturn. Think about this way: For anyone who joined the workforce since 20...
Tags: Apple, Layoffs, Law, China, Recession, Statistics, Class Actions, ADEA, Performance Review, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Discrimination & Harassment, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Owbpa, Reduction in Force, Rif

An Early Prediction for 2019? Perhaps Dusting Off Your Reduction in Force Guidance

You do a blog long enough and everything comes full circle.  Back in January 2008, I took out my crystal ball and suggested that reductions in force (RIFs) and lawsuits would soon follow. We all know what happened next. The economy crashed and discrimination claims at the EEOC peaked at their highest levels in more than 20 years.   So here we are 11 years later.  A whole generation of HR professionals have never experienced a significant downturn.  Are we headed there again in 2019? I’ll leave t...
Tags: Facebook, Law, Recession, Connecticut, Litigation, Class Actions, Bear Market, EEOC, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Wage & Hour, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Reduction in Force, Rif, Layoff, WARN

How the Government Shutdown Impacts Employers

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the government shutdown has very real-world implications. Case in point? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As of now, it’s closed.  The agency has even posted a notice about it on its’ website.  That doesn’t mean that the time limits for filing a charge have been extended.   Generally, federal claims must be filed within 300 days of the alleged discrimination. As noted by the EEOC, “These time limits may not be extended because of the shut-down.” The...
Tags: Law, Government, Delays, Shutdown, EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mediation, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Charges, Featured Content

New Year, New Law: No Salary Inquiries of Job Applicants (Mostly)

January 1st is typically a time for new laws to kick in and 2019 is no exception. For employers, the biggest change is one that I discussed way back in May with amendments to Connecticut’s Pay Equity law. The new law prohibits employers from asking a job applicant his or her wage and salary history. But the prohibition does not apply in two situations: if the prospective employee voluntarily discloses his or her wage and salary history, or; to any actions taken by an employer, employment agency...
Tags: Gender, Law, Pay, History, Connecticut, Salary, Ban, Equity, Inquiries, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour, Discrimination & Harassment, Legislative Developments, New Law, Pay Equity, Featured Content

Five Questions With… Sarah Poriss: Crumbling Foundations and Employers

The holidays are here and you know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions. I recently caught up with Attorney Sarah Poriss who I’ve known for many years and realized she had an interesting perspective for employers and how to start the year off right. Sarah runs her own small firm focusing, in part, on foreclosures for individuals.  Recently, she’s been handling matters for homeowners impacted by the crumbling foundation crisis happening in eastern Connecticut.  What follows is an edited online...
Tags: Google, Law, Connecticut, Employer, Sarah, Foreclosure, Dan, Homeowner, Sarah Poriss, Mediation, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Featured Content, Crumbling Foundation

The Shifting Ground for Connecticut Employers: Massachusetts Starts Retail Sales of Marijuana

Today, Massachusetts started retail sales of marijuana at two locations. Perhaps no location is closer to the population centers of Connecticut than Northampton — just 30 miles up the road from Enfield.  It’s the first store east of the Mississippi River. And lest you think that this is a Massachusetts-only affair, you need only watch the news reports from today to understand that there are plenty of Connecticut residents lining up seeking to avoid the restrictions in place in the Constitution S...
Tags: Law, Massachusetts, Marijuana, Connecticut, Northampton, Pot, Medical Marijuana, Ada, Hiring, New England, Drug Test, Mississippi River, Waterbury, Enfield, Lamont, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

What Does the Blue Wave Mean for Connecticut Employment Law?

The results are in: The General Assembly and the Governor’s office have been caught up in the Blue Wave in this state.  Instead of a split, the Democratic party will control a sizable majority in both houses and the Governor’s Office. But with Governor-Elect Ned Lamont coming from a business-side perspective and touting the need to grow business in Connecticut, what are we likely to see in the next legislative session? Already legislative leaders are talking about a push for a series of progress...
Tags: Law, Senate, Training, Minimum Wage, House, Connecticut, Union, Sexual Harassment, General Assembly, Legislative, Lamont, CT Mirror, Summary, Paid Leave, Legislative Developments, Paid Family Leave

Honoring the Life of One Organ Donor Recipient With CTFMLA

Back in 2010, I wrote a simple blog post about how organ donors were protected under Connecticut’s FMLA law.  In it, I recount how my father — 25 years prior at that time — donated a kidney to his brother (my uncle).  At the time, I noted that both were well.   On Sunday, October 28, 2018, my uncle passed away after a short illness.   Dr. Allen Schwartz was retired as the Deputy Director of Policy and Enterprise solutions at NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and recently serv...
Tags: Law, America, Connecticut, DMV, Obituary, Health Care, Donation, Organ, Organ Donor, Andrea, Allen, Aetna, Department of Labor, Transplant, US Department of Labor, FMLA

From the Archives: Halloween is No Excuse to Harass

From time to time, I take a look back at a prior post that may have particular relevance now. With Halloween knocking on our doorstep and sexual harassment claims on the rise, this post from 2010 has just as much meaning today.… For most people, Halloween is a fun and silly holiday. Yet the holiday has a distinct place in employment law history.  Indeed, for some employers, the holiday has brought more tricks than treats. In Marrero v. Goya of Puerto Rico, 304 F.3d 7 (1st Cir. 2002), a supervis...
Tags: Costumes, Halloween, Harassment, Law, Court, Cosplay, Sexual Harassment, Goya, Fed, Richardson, Marrero, Lester, Department of Treasury, Halloween Party, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Discrimination & Harassment

An Early Look at the Trends at the CHRO

As part of my continuing series of posts about the CHRO, and following up from the 75th Anniversary panel discussion earlier this week, I wanted to provide an early look of the statistics that are soon to be released by the agency. I was provided a preliminary draft in preparation for the panel presentation; it should be out in the next week or two and I was asked not to divulge the specific numbers.  Stay tuned for my deep dive into the numbers when they are officially released. (As a refresher...
Tags: Harassment, Law, Trends, Claims, Complaints, Statistics, Numbers, Sexual Harassment, Sex Harassment, Increase, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Cchro, Chro, Settlements, Featured Content

CHRO Turns 75 … and Looks to the Future

Yesterday I had the opportunity (along with my fellow Shipman & Goodwin partner Peter Murphy) to speak as part of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ (CHRO) 75th Anniversary celebration. The panel — The Barriers to Employment Legal Update and Panel Discussion  — was chock full of the types of insights, data and analyses that is so often overlooked in this Twitter generation. We spent a good 90 minutes talking about the changes that have been going on at the CHRO and talked about wh...
Tags: Human Rights, Law, Car, Commission, Opportunities, EEOC, Shipman Goodwin, Legal Division, Peter Murphy, CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Cchro, Chro, 75th Anniversary, Cfepa, Featured Content

Wage & Hour Claims Still Going Strong and Yet…

Back in 2011, I wondered aloud: Might the impact of new arbitration decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court bring about the end to big wage & hour class actions? At the time, I said it would be premature. Seven years later – what’s changed? Well, as it turns out, wage & hour class actions are not dead. Indeed, based on some statistics, they’re as costly as ever. Earlier this year, the Workplace Class Action Litigation report noted that just the top  ten class action settlements totalled over $2.7...
Tags: Law, Overtime, Wage, Hour, Class Action, Class Actions, Arbitration, U S Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit, FLSA, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Wage & Hour, Misclassification, Waiver, Featured Content, Hotel and Hospitality

Is Your Workplace Prepared for Layoffs?

In the last few months, I’ve had some inquiries from employers asking about resources for layoffs. Yawn. Everyone remembers the layoffs of the recession, right? Actually no, as it turns out. In the ten years since the last great round of layoffs, there is a big group of new managers, directors, human resource personnel, lawyers etc that have joined the workforce.  And, as it turns out, they really DON’T remember the layoffs.  Unemployment is low. “Why would I need to worry about a Reduction in F...
Tags: Law, Recession, Unemployment, Manufacturing, Class Actions, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Discrimination & Harassment, Owbpa, Rif, Layoff, WARN, Featured Content, Hotel and Hospitality, Disparate Impact, 45 Days

Infertility – Must Employers Provide Accommodations to Employees Trying to Get Pregnant?

Lawyers love their cocktail chatter. And at a recent bar event, an interesting hypothetical came up among lawyers: Suppose an employee is trying to get pregnant and is thinking about infertility treatments.  She’s considering time off for rest, and perhaps even for some in vitro fertilization (IVF) appointments. Perhaps even the doctor has said that the employee needs “light duty” work during certain days.   Maybe things are a little more hazy; suppose the employee just says that they are underg...
Tags: Law, Pregnancy, Treatment, Fertility, Connecticut, Leave, Ivf, Discrimination, Ada, Infertility, EEOC, Second Circuit, FMLA, Seventh Circuit, In Vitro Fertilization, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

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