Michael LaVelle

Michael LaVelle

Pullman & Comley, LLC

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Latest Publications


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

Successor Liability for Discrimination Claims

Since most businesses are organized in a corporate form, the typical defendant in an employment discrimination lawsuit is a corporation. If a corporate defendant is dissolved during the course of the lawsuit and has few or...more

6/11/2015 - Discrimination EEOC Hiring & Firing Race Discrimination Resorts & Restaurants Restaurant Industry Successor Liability

Timing and Consistency in Employee Discipline

A recent case decided by the Connecticut Appellate Court illustrates the importance of timing and consistency in administering employee discipline. In Barbee v. Sysco Connecticut, LLC, an opinion released on April 28, 2015,...more

5/8/2015 - Hiring & Firing Retaliation Sysco Termination Wholesale Work Suspensions Workers' Compensation Defense Wrongful Termination

A Tip for Employers: Be Aware of How the Department of Labor Interprets Its Regulations

This story applies directly only to the restaurant industry, but it is a cautionary tale for every employer in Connecticut subject to the Department of Labor’s authority to write and interpret its regulations....more

4/23/2015 - DOL Employer Liability Issues Restaurant Industry Statutory Interpretation Tip Credit Tipped Employees Wage and Hour

Insubordination Can Disqualify an Employee From Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Unemployment compensation is a form of social insurance. Workers who lose their jobs receive benefits – which are less than they earned when employed – to provide a level of income while transitioning to the next job. ...more

4/8/2015 - Insubordination Policy Unemployment Benefits Unemployment Insurance Willful Misconduct

What is The “Right To Work”?

With a bill signed into law last month, Wisconsin became the nation’s 25th “right to work” state. In this context, right-to-work means the right of an employee of a unionized company to retain his job even if he chooses not...more

4/3/2015 - Right to Work Taft-Hartley Act Union Membership Unions

The Perennial Problem of References

Most employers would be very happy to receive a frank appraisal from a prospective employee’s former employer. Yet most employers are themselves reluctant to give references concerning former employees, or any information...more

3/24/2015 - Employee References Employer Liability Issues Former Employee

Potential New Salary Minimum for Exempt Employees

The test for classifying employees as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements may be briefly summarized as follows: the employee must be paid on a salary basis (i.e., receive the same base salary...more

3/17/2015 - Classification DOL Exempt-Employees FLSA Minimum Salary Wage and Hour

Innovative Payroll Practices May Not Be Legal

Connecticut law still allows employees to be paid their weekly pay in cash in pay envelopes, although this cumbersome practice has largely if not entirely given way to more modern forms of disbursement. In particular,...more

3/12/2015 - Payroll Cards Wages

CT Law of the Land

AC36196 - Verrillo v. Zoning Board of Appeals - Attorneys who practice in the land-use arena know that there is often a divergence between how local Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBAs”), comprised of lay members, view...more

3/11/2015 - Appeals Burden of Proof Undue Hardship Variances Zoning Laws

Reasonable Accommodation of a Disability Does Not Require Elimination of an Essential Job Function

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in employment against a qualified individual on the basis of disability, and discrimination includes failing to make a reasonable accommodation. The...more

2/19/2015 - ADA Employer Liability Issues Essential Functions Reasonable Accommodation

CT Law of the Land

Week of January 12 - On January 7, 2015, the Planning & Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association met in Cromwell, CT with special guest Judge Marshall Berger. The main focus of the meeting was Practice Book...more

1/26/2015 - State and Local Government

Evolution of a Statutory Benefit: Use of Paid Sick Leave by Employees Who Aren’t Sick Themselves

The Connecticut employment laws mandate several workplace protections for employees which in an earlier era would have been found only in collective bargaining agreements or the employer’s own policies. Just a few examples...more

12/23/2014 - Employee Rights Employer Mandates FMLA

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait – At No Extra Charge

Last month, this blog discussed a case pending at the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of whether employees who were required to pass through a security clearance at the beginning and end of their shifts could claim that the...more


The Importance of Timing in Employment Terminations

There is a saying that “timing is everything,” and in some instances of employment termination, the timing, if not everything, may still be an important consideration....more

12/2/2014 - ADA Discipline Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues ERISA FMLA Hiring & Firing Termination Title VII

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait – and Get Paid for It

When the poet John Milton observed that “they also serve who only stand and wait,” it was unlikely that he was thinking about employees who are required to pass through security clearance when leaving the workplace at the end...more

11/19/2014 - FLSA Integrity Staffing v Busk Oral Argument SCOTUS Security Clearance Wage and Hour

A Question To Be Answered By The Supreme Court: Should You Discuss The Obvious At Job Interviews?

Sometime next year the United States Supreme Court will decide whether a job interviewer had an obligation to inform an applicant that the interviewer has noticed that the applicant is wearing a headscarf. Put another way, on...more

10/15/2014 - Abercrombie & Fitch Discrimination Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Interviews Job Applicants Religious Clothing Religious Discrimination SCOTUS

Reacting to Employee Off-The-Job Misconduct

A very concerned CEO calls his attorney. He has just learned that several months ago a key employee punched his fiancée, knocking her unconscious. There was a criminal charge that was dismissed, and the couple later married,...more

10/7/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Criminal Prosecution Domestic Violence Employer Liability Issues Off-The-Clock

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