As a service to our clients and the community, listed below are helpful alerts on important legal updates in the area of employment law and employee benefits. In addition, our recent client advisories can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the links below.
Client Alert-February 21, 2018
Employers should keep an eye on a new Connecticut bill, HB 5043, that was introduced in the General Assembly yesterday by two House Members and two Senators. Titled “The Times Up Act,” HB 5043 would radically change sexual harassment training law and the resolution of sexual harassment cases in Connecticut. The bill:
Requires employers with 15 or more employees to conduct training for both supervisors and employees, rather than the current requirement for employers with 50 or more employees to train just supervisors;
Gives sexual harassment claimants up to two years to file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities about alleged harassment, rather than the current six months;
Allows the CHRO and private litigants to request punitive damages in sexual harassment and other employment discrimination cases;
Requires employers to e-mail their sexual harassment policy to employees in addition to posting it and imposes a $250 fine for failing to do so; and
Prohibits confidentiality provisions in sexual harassment settlements.
The expanded training requirement would impact a significant number of Connecticut employers. Additionally, the prohibition on confidentiality clauses in settlements would dramatically affect the ability of employers to settle these cases without generating additional claims in their organizations.
The bill has been referred to the Labor and Public Employees Committee.
We will keep you advised of the bill’s progress.
Client Alert - January 3, 2018
Snow, Pipes, and Pay
With a storm approaching and pipes bursting at some workplaces, it may be a good time to consider your pay obligations if work is interrupted. Here’s a quick rundown:
The General Framework:
Non-Exempt Employees (Hourly Paid): As a matter of law, an hourly employee is only paid when he or she works. There is no obligation to pay hourly employees if the company is not operating, regardless of the reason.
Exempt Employees (Salary): Exempt employees who are unable to work because of a company closing are entitled to be paid the weekly salary if the employee has worked any portion of the work week.
Non-Exempt Salary Employees: Some employers pay employees on a non-exempt salary basis, meaning the employee is given a salary and remains eligible for overtime. Generally, non-exempt salary employees are paid if the company closes for snow.
Special Circumstances: The Governor Closes the Roads
In the event the company would have remained open if the Governor had not closed the roads, there is no obligation to pay hourly or salaried employees for the lost work day under state law. Under federal law, however, where an employer is closed for business for less than one week and an exempt salaried employee works any part of that week, the employer remains obligated to either pay the employee his full salary for the week or deduct from the employee’s bank of PTO, provided the employer has a bona fide paid time off plan and the PTO deduction would not result in a negative PTO balance.
“It’s Snowing-Go Home.”
With two exceptions under state law, if the company releases employees during the work day, hourly employees are not required to be paid more than for the hours actually worked. Salaried employees would continue to be paid. Special minimum pay requirements may apply to employees in restaurants and retail stores.
“Come In-Report for Work” or “When You Come In, Start Clearing the Sidewalks.”
The Connecticut courts have drawn an important line in calling employees into work in bad weather circumstances. If the employer calls the employee and gives the employee an assignment to be performed, work begins when the employee is notified of the assignment. On the other hand, if the employee is told to come in and will be assigned when he or she reports to work, the obligation to pay begins only when the employee reports to work.
The pay rules apply not only to snow, but also to power outages, burst water pipes, and other “acts of god.” The problem of pipe bursts can raise issues other than pay if rest rooms and water become unavailable during work. Generally, an employer will be expected to provide alternatives and to accommodate employees with special needs where the alternatives (e.g. portable restrooms) are not feasible.
Paid Time Off Policies (PTO)
Employers with PTO policies should follow those policies in the event circumstances create a use-of-PTO event. Many PTO policies give the employee the right to elect or not elect the use of PTO to be paid while others provide the right of the employer or the employee to dictate the use of PTO.
Client Alert - October 6, 2011
The National Labor Relations Board announced today that it has postponed to January 31, 2012 the implementation date for its new employee-rights notice-posting rule. The rule previously required employers to comply with the posting compliance beginning November 14, 2011.
The NLRB indicates that the postponement will allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses. No other changes have been made to the rule or the form and content of the notice.
Now beginning January 31, 2012, most private sector employers will be required to post the 11-by-17-inch notice, which is available at no cost from the NLRB through its website, either by downloading and printing or ordering a print by mail. To access the form notice, go to: https://www.nlrb.gov/poster.
Client Alert - May 26, 2011
ThePaid Sick Day Bill (SB-913) was passed by the Connecticut Senate yesterday, May 25th, on a 18-17 vote. The Senate represented the only viable obstacle to the bill becoming law. You should anticipate that this bill will pass in the House; Governor Malloy has stated he will sign it. To view the bill in its current form: SB-913 Passed by Senate.
We'll discuss this bill and other legislative updates at our June 14th seminar.
This advisory contains information about recent developments in health care reform and the progress of Connecticut's SustiNet; an explanation of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on third-party retaliation by employers; and, guidance on U.S. DOL efforts to crack down on improper classifications of workers. In addition, we've included a brief update on the paid sick leave bill proposed in Connecticut and on new proposed H-1B registration procedures.
Disclaimer: The materials in this Website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. This Website is not intended to create and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Robert Noonan & Associates, or any of its attorneys. You should not act or rely on any information in the site without seeking the advice of an attorney.