Michael LaVelle

Michael LaVelle

Pullman & Comley, LLC

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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

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

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