Michael LaVelle

Michael LaVelle

Pullman & Comley, LLC

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An Example of the Interplay Between State and Federal FMLA

Any Connecticut employer with more than 50 employees is subject to both the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts. The key provisions of the two laws are nearly identical, with one significant exception: the...more

10/17/2016 - Employee Rights FMLA Medical Leave Paid Family Leave Law

Don’t Be A Cat’s-Paw

Most sexual harassment policies include a procedure to investigate complaints, often specifying that the investigation will be timely and thorough, and may include interviews with the employees involved, witnesses, and anyone...more

9/19/2016 - Appeals Cat's Paw Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Internal Investigations Retaliation Sexual Harassment

Differences in Public Policy Can Affect Claims of Wrongful Discharge

Most jurisdictions, including Connecticut, recognize a tort of “wrongful discharge” as an exception to the principle of employment at will. Although employment at will generally allows either the employer or the employee to...more

9/12/2016 - Appeals At-Will Employment Concealed Weapons Employee Handbooks Employer No-Weapons Policies Firearms Gun Laws Guns-in-Trunks Legislation Hiring & Firing Public Policy Wrongful Termination

Supreme Court Reaffirms Workers Compensation Exclusivity

Workers compensation has been described as a bargain in which an employee who has suffered a workplace injury relinquishes potentially large common-law tort damages in exchange for relatively quick and certain compensation...more

8/30/2016 - Bystander CT Supreme Court Derivative Tort Claims Exclusivity Rule Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Spouses Summary Judgment Workers' Compensation Claim Workplace Injury

Connecticut Supreme Court Reaffirms the Right of an Employer to Determine When Commissions Are Paid

As a general proposition, under Connecticut law an employer has the right to determine the wage that will be paid for work performed by an employee, subject to basic requirements such as minimum wage or overtime. For wages...more

8/22/2016 - Contract Termination Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing CT Supreme Court Hiring & Firing Minimum Wage Sales Commissions Unpaid Wages Wage and Hour

There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government...more

8/5/2016 - First Amendment Free Speech Job Duties Public Concern Public Employees Social Media

What Is Termination For Cause?

“At-will” employment is an established legal principle in Connecticut. Most non-unionized Connecticut employers publish a statement to employees, either in an employee handbook or employment application materials or both,...more

6/29/2016 - At-Will Employment Employment Contract Hiring & Firing Just Cause

Measuring FMLA Leave Entitlement

Employers with 75 or more employees are subject to both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act. The two laws are similar in many respects; the most significant difference...more

6/8/2016 - FMLA Look-Back Measurement Period Medical Leave State Labor Departments

Travel Time Is Paid Time, Sometimes

Employment typically requires an employee to commute from home to work, and home again at the end of the workday. Department of Labor regulations interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act recognize that the typical morning...more

5/13/2016 - Commuting DOL FLSA Non-Exempt Employees Wage and Hour

The Proper Response When an Employer Learns That an Absence Might Be Protected By FMLA

Regulations enforcing the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts (note: FMLA is applicable to employers with at least 50 employees) require an employee to give 30 days’ advance notice when the need for leave is...more

4/22/2016 - FMLA Medical Leave

Employers Have Flexibility in Applying the Professional Exemption

The basic premise of the Fair Labor Standards Act with regard to overtime pay is that all employees are to be paid overtime unless they qualify for an exemption. Among the exemptions are the three categories known as “white...more

4/14/2016 - DOL FLSA Unpaid Overtime Wage and Hour White-Collar Exemptions

The Connecticut Supreme Court Gets an “A”

There are several facets to the question of whether a person who provides services to a business is an employee or an independent contractor. This classification issue affects whether tax withholding is applied to...more

3/14/2016 - CT Supreme Court Employer Liability Issues Independent Contractors Misclassification Standard OIl Unemployment Compensation System Wage and Hour

Another Loss for the Claim That College Athletes Are Employees

Last year the National Labor Relations Board ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to consider a petition by undergraduate football players at Northwestern University for recognition of a union and collective bargaining...more

3/7/2016 - DOL FLSA NCAA NLRA NLRB Northwestern University Student Athletes

The Return of “Mental-Mental:” Will Workers Compensation Again Be Extended to Cover Emotional Trauma?

As my partner Mark Sommaruga observed in a recent post, the current term of the General Assembly may consider extending workers compensation coverage to employees who suffer purely emotional trauma, without a causative...more

2/26/2016 - Emotional Injury Claims Pending Legislation Workers Compensation Act

Risks In Being A Joint Employer

Joint employment of one worker by two businesses can create risks of liability for both employers in a variety of ways. Both businesses may be liable, for example, on claims for employment discrimination and/or violations of...more

2/9/2016 - DOL Employment Discrimination FLSA Joint Employers Subcontractors Wage and Hour Workers Compensation Act

Must An Employer Tolerate Truly Obnoxious Employee Speech That Is Not Job-Related?

There is a tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University School of Communications and Multi-Media Studies who has gained notoriety because of his public statements, including a blog, which claim that virtually every mass...more

1/8/2016 - Free Speech Hiring & Firing Tenure Universities

A New Challenge to Anti-Nepotism Rules Based on Marital Status Discrimination

In a newly filed lawsuit that has garnered some publicity, a Shelton high school teacher is suing the Shelton Public Schools over the imposition of an anti-nepotism rule which she claims constitutes marital status...more

12/16/2015 - Conflicts of Interest Employee Transfers Family Status Discrimination Marital Status Spouses Teachers

National Labor Relations Board Continues to Limit Handbook Rules

The National Labor Relations Board has been increasingly active in reviewing rules for employee conduct described in personnel policy manuals and handbooks. The NLRB focuses on Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act,...more

11/25/2015 - Employee Handbooks Free Speech NLRA NLRB Protected Concerted Activity

CT Law of the Land

Week of September 23 - Limits of relief possible for Intervenor under CGS 22a-19 - In Hunter Ridge LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission Connecticut’s Supreme Court considered whether injunctive relief was available...more

10/2/2015 - Appeals Conflicts of Interest CT Supreme Court Department of Environmental Management Enforcement Officers Environmental Claims Governmental Immunity Injunctions Intervenors Land Developers Land-Use Permits New Legislation Standard of Review Uniform Standards Urban Planning & Development Wetlands Zoning Laws

Be Aware of Public Employees Disciplinary Proceedings Protections: Loudermill, Wiengarten and Garrity

This post is primarily for public sector employers such as state agencies, municipalities and districts. By virtue of being employed by the government and quite likely represented by a labor union, public sector employees in...more

9/29/2015 - Adverse Employment Action Board of Education Demotions Due Process Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing NLRB Public Sector SCOTUS Self-Incrimination Suspensions Termination Unfair Labor Practices Union Representatives Unions Weingarten Rights Workplace Investigations

Payment of Accrued But Unused Vacation Pay

The Connecticut rules for payment of accrued but unused vacation pay when employment terminates are fairly simple, but a brief refresher may be helpful to employers. Connecticut General Statutes § 31-71f requires...more

9/25/2015 - Accrued Benefits DOL Employee Benefits Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues Fringe Benefits Hiring & Firing Policies and Procedures Policy Statement Termination Unpaid Wages Vacation Pay Wage and Hour

CT Law of the Land

Week of July 29 - No Hardship for Legally Nonconforming Residence - The owners of a residence in Fairfield that was legally nonconforming – that is, it failed to comply with zoning requirements in place now – wanted...more

8/1/2015 - Nonconforming Use Residential Property Owners Variances Zoning Laws

You Can’t Just WISPer – Employers Must Publish or Display Security Policies

WISP is the acronym for Written Information Security Policy. The information at issue is an individual’s personal information and identifiers, such as a Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit or debit card...more

7/20/2015 - Cyber Threats Cybersecurity Data Privacy Data Protection Data Security Electronically Stored Information Employee Handbooks Employee Privacy Rights Employee Training Hackers Identity Theft Notification Requirements Personally Identifiable Information Policies and Procedures Popular Written Notice

CT Law of the Land

Week of July 6 - In June 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court issued two significant land use decisions summarized below. In the first decision the Court analyzed when a town’s zoning regulation might be deemed void...more

7/14/2015 - Cease and Desist Construction Industry Easements Land-Use Permits Property Owners Subject Matter Jurisdiction Vagueness Zoning Laws

Proposed New Overtime Rule: More Time or More Money?

For the past year, the U.S. Department of Labor has been working on new federal overtime regulations, which Jon Orleans reported in this blog last March [March 14, 2014, Revamping Overtime Regulations: No Specifics Yet] The...more

7/1/2015 - DOL Exempt-Employees FLSA OMB Over-Time Wage and Hour

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