Connecticut News & Analysis

  • Proposed overtime rule provides a win for employers overall

    Did you know some salaried employees have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week? Most people don't. Generally, people think only employees paid on an hourly basis need to be paid overtime. That's not true, however. In certain circumstances, a few categories of salaried employees must be paid overtime. One factor that determines whether salaried employees must be paid overtime is what their salary is. Federal law sets the threshold: Salaried employees above it don't have to be paid overtime; salaried employees below it may have to be paid overtime.

  • 2nd Circuit rules cosmetology students are not employees

    In 2015, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions control in Connecticut) addressed whether temporary interns at Fox studios were employees. In Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., the appeals court used a new test looking at who "primarily benefited" from the work relationship. It recently issued another decision in which it addressed whether cosmetology students at a for-profit school, who provide services to customers, were employees who should be paid for the work performed or were student-interns who need not be paid.

  • ESOPs and retirement plans: 2nd Circuit gives 'stock drop' cases new life

    The 2nd Circuit recently reversed a lower court's dismissal of a putative class action involving a group of retirement plan participants who alleged their employer breached its fiduciary duty with regard to managing the plan. Unlike the usual case asserting a fiduciary breach for failure to properly manage plan assets, this case involved a retirement plan that invested in the stock of its own company (referred to as an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP). The 2nd Circuit's decision stands to redefine how courts will weigh employees' claims in ESOP cases involving drops in stock value.

  • A treatment plan for negative online employee reviews

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported on its discovery that, after analyzing millions of online reviews of various companies by their current and former employees, it appeared that more than 400 employers might be gaming the system. Each of the companies experienced unusually large single-month increases in the number of reviews posted by their employees to the jobs website Glassdoor. The surges tended to be disproportionately positive not only for the months in which they occurred but also by comparison to the surrounding months. The clear implication was that someone in a position of authority at the companies had spearheaded a campaign to get employees to post positive reviews to the site in an effort to counteract the overwhelmingly negative ones already posted.

  • OSHA reverses course on electronic reporting requirements

    In what has become a familiar refrain for anyone paying attention, the Trump administration has once again pulled back employment-related regulations that had been established or expanded during the Obama administration. This time, the regulations at issue required establishments that are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) record-keeping requirements to submit information about work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA electronically. To understand the significance of the change, a quick review of the nature and history of the agency's reporting requirements may be helpful.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair responds to lawmakers on joint-employer rule. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring in January responded to a letter from members of Congress urging the Board to withdraw its notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at setting a standard for what constitutes a joint-employer relationship. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), chair of one of the committee's subcommittees, had urged the NLRB to abide by the joint-employer standard set out in the Browning-Ferris decision, a more employee-friendly standard than the one in the proposed rule. But Ring countered that the Browning-Ferris decision "leaves much unresolved." He also cited the "lack of clarity" as a reason the NLRB initiated rulemaking to set a joint-employment standard. He noted in his January 17 letter to Scott and DeLauro the "significant interest" in a joint-employment standard as well as a "wide range of views," as evidenced by the more than 26,000 individual

  • Workplace Trends

    Report notes big rise in diversity of Fortune 500 boards. A multiyear study of Fortune 500 companies has found big gains in diversity on company boards. The study, titled "Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards," from the Alliance for Board Diversity, in collaboration with Deloitte, says that the number of Fortune 500 companies with better than 40% diversity has more than doubled from 69 to 145 since 2012. Representation of women and minorities on Fortune 500 boards reached an all-time high at 34%, compared to 30.8% in 2016. Total minority representation increased to 16.1% from 12.8% in 2010, the first year Fortune 500 data was captured. The report's findings point to the increase being driven by Fortune 100 companies, which have 25% women and 38.6% women and minorities. Fortune 500 companies lag behind, with 22.5% women and 34% women and minorities.

  • Name, sex, and (not) DOB? CT bill bans asking job applicants about age

    Last month, after the 2019 Connecticut legislative session started, we predicted lawmakers would likely file a number of bills affecting employers (see "2019 legislative preview: Is recreational marijuana on the menu?" on pg. 1 of our January newsletter). The session is still young, but we've already seen a fair number of bills that could affect your workplace, including one that would prohibit you from asking prospective employees about their age. Regardless of whether the bill passes, it's still a good excuse for a quick reminder on the dangers of seeking information about a job applicant's age.

  • Now's the time to consider marijuana policy

    State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, there are only 16 states in which marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

  • Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?

    If you're like us (and Seth Meyers), you might have a hard time keeping up with all the latest slang terms having to do with new technologies and trends in social interactions and other aspects of modern life. One such term is "ghosting," which is when a person just stops responding to text messages, usually from someone they recently started dating. The term has slowly spread to other situations in which one person suddenly disappears from another person's life, including—you guessed it—when an employee or job applicant is a no-show with no communication or explanation to the employer.