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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Connecticut (21)


Understanding Your Sexual Harassment Training Duties

Multiple states (and some cities) have sexual harassment requirements for certain employers.  Currently California, Connecticut, and Maine have training requirements in place and New York’s training requirement will take effect later this year.  Even if your state does not, however, require training, best practices would be to institute yearly sexual harassment training for all employees.

If you’re currently completing in house training without the use of an outside entity, or counsel, consider updating your current practices to include multiple formats of training—video, written material, quizzes, etc.  There are a multitude of publically available resources including this video, “The Coworker” produced by David Schwimmer, which can operate to start a dialogue as to what sexual harassment looks like and what aspects of the behavior—individually and collectively—is improper. [Trigger warning: this video does include examples of sexual harassment which may be disturbing to viewers.] 

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Is Hiring a Full-Time Interpreter a Reasonable Accommodation?

Maybe. The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut issued a ruling on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Cadoret v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. on February 9, 2018, holding there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether hiring a full-time American Sign Language interpreter for an Electrical Installer was a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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Connecticut Pay Equity Bill Moves Forward

Earlier this week, bill HB5591, which has been touted as legislation that will help to close the gender pay gap between Connecticut employees, cleared the House of Representatives with a vote of 139-9.  The bill, unlike the Massachusetts law that goes into effect next year, does not include a provision that would prevent employers from asking applicants about their salary history before making a job offer. 

Many other states across the country, however, have bills similar to that passed by Massachusetts pending, including in Maine, which would restrict employers’ abilities to request information concerning previous rates of pay. Prior to this legislation moving forward, Lee Hansen in the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research published a comparison of Massachusetts and Connecticut’s labor laws relative to gender wage discrimination in a Research Report on December 16, 2016.

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Effective October 1, CT Employers Can Use Payroll Cards to Pay Wages

On June 7, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law Public Act 16-125, which allows employers to pay employees using payroll cards and to deliver certain wage and hour information to employees by electronic means. The new law takes effect on October 1, 2016. For a recent article discussing the new law, click here.

If any Connecticut employer has any interest in exploring these new options, a member of Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Group would be happy to assist.

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Connecticut Advance Opinion: Affirming Arbitrator’s Finding That Termination Unwarranted of Employee Caught Smoking and Possessing Marijuana

Yes, you read the title correctly, the employee was a state employee, who was smoking marijuana while working, in a work vehicle, while simultaneously possessing ¾ of an ounce of marijuana, but his termination has been found to be unwarranted. State of Connecticut v. Connecticut Employees Union Independent et al. (SC 19590)(official release August 30, 2016).

Factual Background

An hour and 50 minutes into his shift, the employee was observed “sitting in a state van parked in a secluded area of the health center campus,” along with a coworker, and was seen “sitting in the passenger seat with the door open, smoking from a glass pipe.”  The employee had keys to the campus and could access “most of the health center campus, including the day care center, research laboratories and the hospital.”  When asked what he was doing, the grievant responded, “just *%@%! off,” and then “acknowledged that he was smoking marijuana,” and “surrendered two bags of marijuana that he had in his possession,” which in total “weighed about three quarters of one ounce.”  As a result, the University of Connecticut Health Center (his employer) fired him.  The employee contested the termination pursuant to the parties’ collective bargaining agreement and an arbitrator held a hearing to determine if the dismissal was for “just cause.”

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WWE “Wrestles” with the Question of Whether Road Warrior Animal was an Employee or Independent Contractor

The issue of Independent Contractor versus Employee has reared its ugly head once again, this time in the context of professional wrestling. A Connecticut lawsuit filed on behalf of retired wrestlers is seeking damages from World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. for head injuries, alleged to have been sustained in the course of their “employment” as professional wrestlers. Among the many employment-related claims raised by the wrestlers is the claim that they were misclassified as independent contractors when they were, in fact, employees. As a result of the independent contractor classification, workers’ compensation benefits were not provided to the wrestlers. Additionally, the Complaint alleges that wrestlers were not provided with health insurance, and were largely limited to the medical treatment provided by WWE medical staff. The group of former wrestlers allege that they suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease highlighted in the recent film “Concussion”. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages among other remedies. Two similar lawsuits have been thrown out by Courts in recent years and it is not clear how the living Plaintiffs have determined that they suffer from CTE, since that condition is generally only able to be diagnosed by autopsy. Since an employment contract will not necessarily guarantee the existence of independent contractor status, the Court may well have to at least determine that threshold issue, if Plaintiffs are found to have standing to sue. For more details, read the 214 page complaint, Laurinaitis et. al v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., et al., Case 3-16-cv-01209.