Nicole A. Bernabo

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  I have decided to begin the next phase of my career inhouse practicing labor and employment law.  Therefore, it is time for my last post, albeit a goodbye, as an author of this blog.  You are in good hands as my colleague, Matt Miklave, has graciously agreed to take over the labor and employment role on this terrific blog team. So, a number of big thank you’s are in order.  Thanks to my fellow firm…
When manufacturers determine that it is necessary to let go of an employee there is often an assessment of risk and a decision about whether a severance package should be offered in exchange for a separation agreement that contains a general release and waiver of claims against the company.  Given the recent trend in litigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the past year targeting specific language used by companies in these types of…
In this installment of the blog’s 360, I am going to spin off the temporary employee discussion and address the joint employer relationship.  Joint employment has certainly been a big Mcissue for McDonald’s these days and one that manufacturers should also keep on their radar.  The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a complaint against McDonald’s USA, LLC and is claiming that the franchisor may be jointly responsible for the potential labor violations of its…
Today Governor Malloy signed legislation that expanded Connecticut’s Manufacturing Reinvestment Account (MRA) program, doubling the amount of tax benefits available and expanding the definition.  In 2010, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to begin offering MRA’s which are similar to individual retirement accounts for businesses.  The tax benefit of establishing an MRA includes a Connecticut income tax deduction for the amount contributed to the account so long as the monies are utilized for…
As virtually every HR professional will tell you, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most confusing and complicated employment laws to administer. While providing job-protected leave for employees with serious health conditions or other qualifying events, it also presents the opportunity for misuse—or blatant abuse—by employees who want to mask attendance or performance problems, or who simply want more time off from work than otherwise would be allowed. Please join me…
Actual productive labor is what a manufacturer may think is “work”.  No work, no pay.  However, courts have interpreted federal and state wage and hour laws much more broadly.    In general, a “workday” means the period between the time on any particular day when such employee commences his/her “principal activity” and the time on that day at which he/she ceases such principal activity or activities. The workday may therefore be longer than the employee’s scheduled shift…
By now, almost everyone has heard about the atrocious racist rant by Donald Sterling, the owner (soon to be former owner) of the Los Angeles Clippers.  Sterling’s public reaction to these comments going viral is just as reprehensible. On the other hand, the NBA Commissioner’s response was a timely and appropriate corporate response: The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage…
  Manufacturers are increasingly using temporary employees (“temps”) to supplement the work force.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the temporary workforce has increased exponentially.  Manufacturers  previously used temps as a stopgap for labor, but are now routinely using temps to supplement the workforce.  Our 360 post this week touches on the issues associated with using temps: Pam: Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees. Temporary staffing agencies and…
The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has increased its focus on employer policies and practices – nonunion and union alike – that could be read to “chill” employees’ rights to engage in protected, concerted activity.  Hot button issues, based on a recent NLRB General Counsel Memo issued last month, include:  whether employees should have a right to use an employer’s email system for union organizing or other protected concerted activity whether nonunion employees have a…
Some quick hits this week on the employment front for manufacturers: U.S. Supreme Court Rules Severance Pay Is Taxable The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that employers must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on severance packages given to workers who were laid off involuntarily.  In a unanimous decision, the Court ruled 8-0 that retailer Quality Stores Inc. was not allowed to receive a tax refund for the payments made to 1,850 former employees…