Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP

On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) released an opinion letter clarifying the DOL’s position on designating and taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Specifically, the DOL stated that employers cannot delay the designation of FMLA-qualifying leave or designate more than 12 weeks of leave (or 26 weeks for military caregivers) as FMLA leave. This opinion is at odds with a 2014 Ninth Circuit
Recently, Democratic federal legislators proposed a bill to bar companies from requiring employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements and also from preventing employees from bringing class actions. Proposed Bill The proposed bill, the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (“FAIR Act”), sponsored by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, would ban mandatory arbitration in employment agreements, prohibiting employees from taking their claims to court.  It would also bar agreements that prevent workers…
Recently, we reported that the Department of Labor (“DOL”) would likely release a new rule addressing the “white collar” overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional workers soon.  The DOL released this much anticipated proposed rule on March 7, 2019. Proposed Changes Under the proposed rule, the salary level threshold would increase from $455 per week (or $23,660 annually) to $679 per week (or $35,508 annually.) The DOL’s proposed increase falls almost squarely at the…
In February, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, released guidance that defines race discrimination to include discrimination based on natural hair and hairstyles.  Under this guidance, the New York City Human Rights Law now protects the rights of New York City (“NYC”) employees to maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic, or cultural identities.  This includes, but is not limited to, the right to maintain hairstyles such…
An updated rule for the Fair Labor Standard’s Acts “white collar” overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional workers is likely coming soon.  In mid-January, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) submitted its proposed final rule governing these exemptions to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final approval.  As we reported previously, the drastic Obama-era updates to the overtime exemptions, which nearly doubled the salary threshold, were struck down by…
The General Assembly began its 2019 Legislative Session on January 9th.  Many bills affecting the workplace have already been introduced.  They include the following: Leave of Absence HB5003 and SB1 would create a paid Family and Medical Leave funded by employee contributions, similar to a workers’ compensation program. The bills would also broaden the existing Connecticut FMLA, making it applicable to all employers, and offering up to twelve weeks of paid leave during any twelve-month…
There are 3 significant developments at the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). NLRB Revises Independent Contractor Test In late January, the Board overturned the Obama-era test for establishing whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor under the National Labor Relations Act.  Under the Obama-era test, the Board ignored whether an individual had entrepreneurial opportunities in performing the services.  Under the current test, the Board has restored the previously longstanding common law agency test…
Congratulations to Attorney Chuck Stohler, who was appointed as a Special Master by Connecticut federal court Judge Janet B. Arterton in a nationwide wage and hour class and collective action case pending in Connecticut.  Chuck was selected over several others for this position. Chuck is the lead partner in Carmody’s Labor and Employment Practice and his employment law experience spans more than 35 years. At the request of numerous parties, Chuck’s practice has focused on…
Effective January 2, 2019, the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut has formally entered the world of virtual mediation with the introduction of a pilot in the Judicial Districts of Hartford and New Haven to help resolve contract collection cases.  More accurately, it has entered the world of Online Dispute Resolution (“ODR”).  ODR started in the mid-1990s to primarily address e-commerce disputes.  Its potential universality has gained popularity ever since. It is viewed as…
As a reminder, Connecticut Public Act No. 18-8 titled “An Act Concerning Pay Equity” became effective January 1, 2019. Under this law, all employers are prohibited from asking or directing a third party to ask about a job applicant’s wage and salary, unless the job applicant has voluntarily disclosed this information. ­ ­ ‍ Exceptions There are two exceptions to the new law. It does not apply to employers or third parties who are required…