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Employment Law

Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=737

AC39067 - Samakaab v. Dept. of Social Services ("In this employment discrimination action, the plaintiff, Hasan Samakaab, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, the Department of Social Services. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that insufficient facts were presented to support a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=649

AC38851 - Thomson v. Dept. of Social Services ("The plaintiff, Kim Thomson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant, the Department of Social Services. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that insufficient facts were presented to support a prima facie case for disability discrimination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Supreme Court Advance Release Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=643

SC19401- Maio v. New Haven ("Under General Statutes § 53-39a, a police officer acquitted of crimes 'allegedly committed by such officer in the course of his duty' is entitled to indemnification from 'his employing governmental unit for economic loss sustained by him as a result of such prosecution . . . .' The plaintiff, Anthony J. Maio, a police officer with the New Haven Police Department (department), sought such reimbursement from the defendant, the city of New Haven, after he was acquitted of charges of sexual assault in the fourth degree and unlawful restraint for conduct involving two young women that allegedly occurred while he was working an 'extra duty' shift at a local nightclub. When the defendant declined to reimburse the plaintiff in accordance with § 53-39a, the plaintiff brought this action for indemnification. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed, claiming that the trial court improperly (1) instructed the jury on the meaning of the phrase 'in the course of [the officer's] duty' as that language is used in § 53-39a, and (2) precluded the defendant's use of the testimony of two key state's witnesses at the plaintiff's criminal trial, namely, A and J, the complainants and alleged victims of the plaintiff's claimed misconduct (complainants). Although we disagree with the defendant's claim of instructional impropriety, we agree that the trial court improperly prohibited the defendant from using the complainants' prior testimony and, further, that that evidentiary error was not harmless. We conclude, therefore, that the defendant is entitled to a new trial.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=622

SC19829 - Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc. ("Connecticut law requires employers to pay certain employees one and one-half times their 'regular rate' of pay for any overtime hours they work. General Statutes § 31-76c. Calculating overtime pay for employees paid a fixed hourly wage is straightforward—their 'regular rate' is their hourly wage, so they must be paid one and one-half times their hourly wage for each overtime hour worked. General Statutes § 31-76c. But for employees paid in whole or in part by commission, their average hourly rate will tend to fluctuate, leaving them without a readily apparent regular rate to use for calculating overtime pay. In the present case, we are asked to consider how employers must determine the regular rate for retail employees whose pay fluctuates each week because they receive commissions.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=538

SC19691 - Spiotti v. Wolcott ("The primary issue that we must resolve in this appeal is whether this court should overrule its decision in Genovese v. Gallo Wine Merchants, Inc., 226 Conn. 475, 486, 628 A.2d 946 (1993), holding that, under General Statutes § 31-51bb, a factual determination made in a final and binding arbitration conducted pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement does not have preclusive effect in a subsequent action claiming a violation of the state or federal constitution or a state statute. The plaintiff, Doreen Spiotti, was a member of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 332 (union), and was employed as a police officer in the Wolcott Police Department (department). After the plaintiff filed a complaint with an ombudsman for the department alleging that the department had engaged in retaliatory conduct against her, the department conducted an investigation and concluded that certain statements that the plaintiff had made in her complaint were false. Thereafter, Neil O’Leary, the chief of the department, recommended to the town council of the named defendant, the town of Wolcott, that the plaintiff’s employment be terminated. The defendant terminated the plaintiff, who then filed a grievance pursuant to the procedures set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between the defendant and the union. In accordance with those procedures, the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration (board of mediation) conducted hearings on the issue of whether the plaintiff’s employment had been terminated for just cause, and it ultimately concluded that there was just cause on the basis of its determination that the plaintiff had made false statements in her complaint to the ombudsman and during the department’s investigation of that complaint.

Thereafter, the plaintiff brought the present action alleging, among other things, that her termination was in retaliation for bringing a previous action against the defendant alleging sex discrimination in violation of General Statutes § 46a-60 (a) (4), and for engaging in protected speech, namely, the complaint to the ombudsman, in violation of General Statutes § 31-51q. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel because the factual underpinnings of those claims had been decided adversely to her by the board of mediation in the arbitration proceedings. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment as to these claims on the ground that, under this court’s interpretation of § 31-51bb in Genovese, the doctrine of collateral estoppel does not bar a statutory cause of action that is brought after the same issue has been decided in arbitration pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. The defendant then filed this appeal. The defendant contends that (1) Genovese should be overruled as a result of the legislature’s subsequent enactment of General Statutes § 1-2z, and (2) even if Genovese should not be overruled as the result of § 1-2z, it should be overruled because it was wrongly decided under then existing law. We conclude that Genovese is still good law and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Judicial Branch Now Publishing Headnotes for its Supreme & Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=534

The Judicial Branch has announced that it is now publishing a syllabus (headnote) at the top of each Supreme and Appellate Court opinion:

The Judicial Branch is now posting online headnotes for both Supreme and Appellate Court opinions. These headnotes, which accompany individual Supreme and Appellate Court decisions, include a short summary of the ruling and the procedural history of a case. The Reporter of Judicial Decisions prepares the headnotes, which are not part of the opinion. As such, the opinion alone should be relied upon for the reasoning behind the decision [Emphasis added].

Subscribe to a case law category (or categories) of your choice through our Email Digest or RSS delivery services to receive the latest cases from the Supreme or Appellate Courts delivered directly to your inbox.


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=511

AC38599 - Healey v. Haymond Law Firm, P.C. ("The defendant, The Haymond Law Firm, P.C., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, awarding its former employee, the plaintiff, Robert E. Healey, damages for unpaid wages pursuant to General Statutes § 31-72. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by charging the jury on the amended version of § 31-72 because the amendment took effect after this action had commenced. Therefore, the defendant argues, the court was required to charge the jury on the repealed version of that statute that had been in effect at the time the alleged injuries occurred. The defendant also claims that the court’s instruction on the amended version of the statute was a clear, obvious, and indisputable error that warrants reversal under the plain error doctrine.

We conclude that the defendant’s claim is unreviewable because it induced the alleged instructional impropriety by affirmatively requesting that the court charge the jury on the amended version of § 31-72. We also conclude that plain error reversal is not warranted in this case. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=510

AC38604 - Pajor v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act ("The plaintiff, John Pajor, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his appeal from the decision of the Employment Security Appeals Division Board of Review (board), which dismissed his appeal from the dismissal of his challenge to a finding that he had been overpaid certain unemployment compensation benefits. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) applied the wrong standard of review to the board’s decision on his motion to correct findings, and (2) concluded that the board’s determination that the plaintiff did not show good cause for failing to attend a hearing on remand before an appeals referee was not arbitrary, unreasonable, or an abuse of discretion. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=454

AC38445 - Evans v. Tiger Claw, Inc.("The plaintiff, Christopher Evans, appeals from the judgment, rendered after a trial to the court, denying his claim for hourly wages allegedly due from the defendant, Tiger Claw, Inc. (defendant). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred (1) 'in failing to apply or misapplying fundamental tenets of wage and hour law'; (2) 'in applying an incorrect burden of proof'; and (3) 'in finding that [the] plaintiff has not proved that [the] defendant failed to pay any wages to which [the] plaintiff was otherwise entitled.' We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=368

AC37529 - Jones v. Dept. of Children & Families ("In this employment discrimination case, the plaintiff, Michael Jones, appeals from the trial court’s judgment in favor of the defendant, the Department of Children and Families. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that he did not meet his burden of persuasion with respect to his allegations that the defendant subjected him to unlawful discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation. See Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the court: (1) improperly imposed on the plaintiff the burden of proving the falsity of the reason given by the defendant for the termination, (2) improperly applied an adverse inference against the plaintiff (3) failed to correctly apply the 'cat’s paw' theory of liability, (4) erred by failing to make factual findings regarding discriminatory animus held by the plaintiff’s supervisors, and (5) improperly concluded that the plaintiff’s retaliation claim relied on timing alone. We disagree with the plaintiff’s assertions and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=361

SC19622 - Amaral Brothers, Inc. v. Dept. of Labor (Administrative appeal; "General Statutes § 31-60 (b) carves out certain exceptions to Connecticut's minimum wage laws. Among other things, § 31-60 (b) directs the Labor Commissioner, acting through the defendant, the Department of Labor, to adopt regulations that recognize that employers may include gratuities as part of the minimum fair wage for employees in the restaurant and hotel industries who customarily and regularly receive gratuities (tip credit). The primary question raised by this appeal is whether the department's regulations, which limit the tip credit to bartenders and traditional waitstaff and do not allow employers to count gratuities toward the minimum wage for other employees such as restaurant delivery drivers, conflict with the enabling statute. Because we conclude that the regulations are not incompatible with § 31-60 (b), we affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing the appeal of the plaintiff, Amaral Brothers, Inc., from the commissioner's declaratory ruling that the plaintiff's drivers are not subject to a tip credit.")


Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=342

SC19651 - Southwest Appraisal Group, LLC v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act (Unemployment compensation; employer contributions "The sole issue in this appeal is whether part C of the ABC test; see General Statutes § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii); which governs whether an employment relationship exists for purposes of the Unemployment Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-222 et seq., requires proof that the putative employee perform services for third parties other than the putative employer, in order to be deemed an independent contractor. The plaintiff, Southwest Appraisal Group, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its appeal from the decision of the Board of Review of the Employment Security Appeals Division (board), which found it liable for unemployment compensation taxes, plus interest, for three of its automobile appraisers following an audit by the defendant, the Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly applied part C of the ABC test, which asks whether "such individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed"; General Statutes § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii) (III); in deeming the three appraisers to be employees on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to prove that they had performed appraisal services for anyone other than the plaintiff, despite other evidence indicating that they operated independent businesses. We conclude that evidence of the performance of services for third parties is not required to prove part C of the ABC test but, rather, is a single factor that may be considered under the totality of the circumstances analysis governing that inquiry. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=327

SC19734 - Wall Systems, Inc. v. Pompa ("The primary issue raised by this appeal and cross appeal is the range of monetary remedies available to an employer once it has proven that its employee breached his common-law duty of loyalty. The plaintiff, Wall Systems, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court awarding it damages of $43,200, plus statutory interest and attorney’s fees, after concluding that the defendant, William Pompa, had breached his duty of loyalty by working simultaneously for the plaintiff and for a competitor, and further, by accepting three kickbacks from a subcontractor in connection with his work for the plaintiff. The court, as part of its remedy, imposed a constructive trust on a bank account held jointly by the defendant and his wife, Jill Pompa.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=303

SC19667 - Norwalk Police Union, Local 1727, Council 15, AFSCME, AFL-CIO v. Norwalk ("The issue that we must resolve in this appeal is whether the trial court properly vacated an arbitration award that had found that the defendant city of Norwalk (city) had just cause to terminate the employment of Stephen E. Couture, a police sergeant employed by the Norwalk Police Department (department). The plaintiff,1 Norwalk Police Union, Local 1727, Council 15, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and the city are parties to a collective bargaining agreement (agreement) governing the terms and conditions of employment for certain police officers employed by the city. The agreement provides that disputes over its interpretation will be resolved through arbitration.

"...We conclude that the decision of the arbitration board was not in manifest disregard of the law and, therefore, that the trial court improperly vacated the arbitration award.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=280

AC37958 - Martinez v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act (Unemployment compensation benefits; "The defendant Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act appeals from the judgment of the trial court sustaining the appeal by the plaintiff, Orlando Martinez, and reversing the decision of the Employment Security Board of Review (board) denying benefits to the plaintiff. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) disregarded the factual findings of the board although no motion to correct was filed as required by Practice Book § 22-4, and (2) determined that the board abused its discretion in concluding that the plaintiff engaged in wilful misconduct. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=269

SC19505 - Tomick v. United Parcel Service, Inc. ("In this certified appeal, we consider whether General Statutes § 46a-104 provides for an award of statutory punitive damages as a remedy for discriminatory practices under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. The plaintiff, Michael Tomick, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court’s decision to set aside a jury award of $500,000 in statutory punitive damages against the defendant United Parcel Service, Inc. Tomick v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 157 Conn. App. 312, 115 A.3d 1143 (2015) (Tomick II). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly ignored the plain language of § 46a-104 in concluding that the statute does not authorize punitive damages. We disagree with the plaintiff, and conclude that § 46a-104 does not provide for an award of punitive damages. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=252

AC37878 - Phadnis v. Great Expression Dental Centers of Connecticut, P.C. ("This is an appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Great Expression Dental Centers of Connecticut, P.C., in an action commenced by the plaintiff, Ukti Phadnis, a dentist employed by the defendant. The plaintiff asserted that she was wrongfully terminated from her employment as a result of pregnancy discrimination, unlawful retaliation, breach of contract, breach of implied contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The trial court found that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that the defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to all of the plaintiff’s claims. We agree with and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

  • AC37878 Appendix - Phadnis v. Great Expression Dental Centers of Connecticut, P.C.


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=162

SC19534 - Sowell v. DiCara ("PER CURIAM. In the course of a civil action pending between the plaintiff, Julie M. Sowell, and the defendants Southbury-Middlebury Youth and Family Services, Inc. (Southbury-Middlebury), Dierdre H. DiCara, and Mary Jane McClay, the plaintiff sought to support her challenge to Southbury-Middlebury's counterclaim against her by filing an application, pursuant to General Statutes § 33-1089, to determine the validity of the election of its directors and officers. The plaintiff now appeals, upon our grant of her petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court dismissing her appeal from the decision of the trial court granting the defendants' motion to dismiss the application. In the present appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the trial court's dismissal of the application was not an appealable final judgment under the first or second prong of State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983).

After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.

The appeal is dismissed.")


Self-Help Legal Checklists

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=116

CTLawHelp.org publishes a collection of Legal Checklists that provide "how to" practical guidance on many family, consumer, employment, and school law issues. Here are the checklists presently available:

Family

Domestic Violence

Wages and Hours of Work

Money and Debt

Unemployment Compensation

Special Education

State and Federal Benefits


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=77

SC19590 - State v. Connecticut Employees Union Independent ("This case presents the question of whether the public policy of Connecticut demands no less than termination of employment as the only appropriate disciplinary response when a state employee is caught smoking marijuana during his working hours. The defendant, Connecticut Employees Union Independent, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered following the court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to confirm an arbitration award that reinstated Gregory Linhoff, a union member (grievant), to his employment at the University of Connecticut Health Center (health center). The court denied the defendant’s motion to confirm and granted a motion to vacate the award filed by the plaintiff, the state of Connecticut, after concluding that the award, which imposed a number of sanctions and conditions short of termination, violated public policy. We disagree that the arbitrator’s award, which imposed an unpaid suspension, last chance status and random drug testing, clearly violated an explicit, well-defined and dominant public policy and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


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