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Employment Law

Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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://jud.ct.gov/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.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=59

SC19545 - Geysen v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. ("This consolidated appeal presents the question of whether an at-will employment agreement, providing that an employee’s commissions will not be paid unless the employer has invoiced commissionable amounts to the client prior to the employee’s termination, is contrary to public policy and a violation of General Statutes (Supp. 2016) § 31-72. The defendant...appeals from the stipulated judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiff...on his wage statute claim and the trial court’s underlying ruling holding that this commission provision was contrary to public policy. Additionally, the plaintiff cross appeals claiming, inter alia, that the trial court improperly granted the motion to strike counts two and three of the complaint alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and wrongful termination in violation of public policy, respectively. We agree with the defendant that the trial court improperly determined that the commission provision violated public policy and constituted a violation of § 31-72. With regard to the plaintiff’s cross appeal, we hold that count two of the plaintiff’s complaint alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing should not have been stricken but that count three alleging wrongful discharge was properly stricken. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=180

July 2015 - July 2016 (reverse chronological order)

SC19496 - Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Echo Hose Ambulance ("We are called upon to decide what test should be applied to determine whether an unpaid volunteer is an 'employee' for purposes of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. More specifically, we must decide whether a volunteer must satisfy the predominant 'remuneration test' used to resolve similar federal causes of action or Connecticut's common-law 'right to control' test.

"This certified appeal arises out of a complaint filed with the plaintiff, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, by Brenda Puryear (Brenda), on behalf of her then minor daughter Sarah Puryear (Sarah). The complaint alleged that the defendants, Echo Hose Ambulance and the city of Shelton, had discriminated and retaliated against Sarah on the basis of her race and color in violation of CFEPA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII). The trial court rendered judgment dismissing the commission's administrative appeal from the decision of the commission's human rights referee, who had struck the complaint on the ground that Sarah was not an employee under the remuneration test. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's judgment; Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Echo Hose Ambulance, 156 Conn. App. 239, 253, 113 A.3d 463 (2015); and Sarah appealed to this court. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

AC36895 - Matos v. Ortiz ("It is well established that a court may summarily enforce—within the framework of existing litigation—a clear and unambiguous settlement agreement reached during that litigation. Audubon Parking Associates Ltd. Partnership v. Barclay & Stubbs, Inc., 225 Conn. 804, 812, 626 A.2d 729 (1993) (Audubon). We are now called upon to decide whether that power extends to the summary enforcement of agreements reached both outside the framework of and before the start of the litigation in which enforcement is sought.")

AC37628 - Morrissey-Manter v. Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center ("In this wrongful termination of employment action, the plaintiff...appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants.... On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to four counts of her amended complaint because one or more genuine issues of material fact existed with respect to her claims that (1) an implied contractual agreement between the parties prohibited her discharge without cause, (2) the defendants terminated her employment in violation of an important public policy, (3) the defendants breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by terminating her employment in ‘‘bad faith,’’ and (4) the defendants withheld certain medical records and destroyed evidence that would have supported her cause of action. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37251 - Dickman v. University of Connecticut Health Center ("The plaintiff...appeals from the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the first district (commissioner) dismissing her General Statutes § 31-290a discriminatory
discharge claim against the defendant, the University of Connecticut Health Center. On appeal, the self represented plaintiff challenges the commissioner’s findings and conclusions. The defendant responds that the plaintiff has failed to provide any grounds for reversing the commissioner’s dismissal, and that the record supports the commissioner’s dismissal. We agree with the defendant, and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the commissioner.")

SC19323 - Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors, LLC ("Specifically, we conclude that, under the state constitution, employee speech pursuant to official job duties on certain matters of significant public interest is protected from employer discipline in a public workplace, and § 31-51q extends the same protection to employee speech pursuant to official job duties in the private workplace.")

AC36092 - Bridgeport Board of Education v. NAGE, Local RI-200 ("The plaintiff...appeals from the decision of the trial court denying its application to vacate an arbitration award in favor of the defendant.... On appeal, the board claims that the court should have vacated the award because (1) it failed to conform to the submission, (2) the arbitrators exceeded their authority and issued an award that is not mutual, final and definite, and (3) the award violates public policy. Because we conclude that the award violates public policy, we reverse the judgment of the trial court. In light of this conclusion, we need not address the board’s additional claims.")

AC36868 - Cragg v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act ("In this case, the plaintiff...appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants.... On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) granted the administrator’s motion for judgment and (2) denied the plaintiff the opportunity for oral argument before ruling on the administrator’s motion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36986 - Santos v. Massad-Zion Motor Sales Co. ("The defendants...appeal from the judgment of the trial court enforcing a settlement agreement purportedly entered into by the defendants and the plaintiff.... The defendants claim that the court erred because the parties had not reached a clear and unambiguous agreement as to the terms of a confidentiality provision, an essential component of the parties’ settlement agreement. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36582 - Heyward v. Judicial Dept. ("In this action arising out of alleged workplace discrimination, the plaintiffs...appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting a motion to dismiss certain counts of the complaint against the defendants...and transferring venue for the remainder of the action from the judicial district of Waterbury to the judicial district of Hartford. The dispositive issues on appeal are (1) whether the court’s dismissal of only some of the counts brought against the state was an appealable final judgment, (2) whether the trial court properly dismissed all claims against Axelrod, and (3) whether the trial court’s order transferring venue was an immediately appealable final judgment. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that (1)the judgment dismissing some, but not all, of the plaintiffs’ counts against the state was not an appealable final judgment, (2) the plaintiffs have failed to adequately brief and therefore have abandoned their claim that the court improperly dismissed all claims against Axelrod, and (3) the interlocutory order transferring venue with respect to the remainder of the action was not an appealable final judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal except as to that portion challenging the judgment of dismissal as it relates to the counts brought against Axelrod, and, as to that portion of the appeal, we affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC36778 - Benedetto v. Dietze & Associates, LLC ("In this case arising out of alleged employment discrimination, the plaintiffs...appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants.... The plaintiffs claim on appeal that the court (1) abused its discretion by granting the defendants’ motion to reargue its ruling sustaining the plaintiffs’ objection to the defendants’ request to revise, and (2) improperly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36506 - Sidorova v. East Lyme Board of Education ("The plaintiff...appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants...in this action arising out of the termination of the plaintiff’s employment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in determining that (1) she lacked standing to pursue a breach of contract claim alleging violation of the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement (agreement) between the board and the East Lyme Teachers’ Association, (2) governmental immunity applied to the superintendent’s conduct in terminating the plaintiff, which conduct the court found to be discretionary, and (3) the plaintiff had failed to allege sufficient facts in support of her claims that the defendants breached their duties of good faith and fair dealing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36199 - Kachnowski v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act ("The self-represented plaintiff...appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing her appeal from the decision of the Employment Security Board of Review (board). On appeal, the plaintiff claims: (1) 'the [board] improperly handled [her] appeal when it certified the appeal to the Superior Court and failed to comply with Practice Book § 22-1 . . . and . . . [§] 31-237g-51 [of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies]'; (2) 'the [board] erred in [not] certifying all pertinent file records concerning the appeal to the Superior Court as pursuant to . . . § 31-237g-1 (b) [of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies] and the Superior Court erred in ignoring the plaintiff's argument that the board failed to do so'; (3) 'the board failed to respond to, file and certify [her] motion to correct to the Superior Court, as required by Practice Book §§ 22-4, 22-7 and 22-8, and . . . the Superior Court erred in dismissing [her] argument regarding it [because the] exclusion of this motion precluded further review of the facts by the court'; (4) '[the board] failed to follow the guidelines of . . . § 31-236-26d [of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies] and the plaintiff did not commit wilful misconduct in the course of employment and, therefore, was eligible for unemployment benefits'; and (5) 'the Superior Court erred in making a judgment of dismissal in [her] case . . . .' Based on our review of claims four and five, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.")

AC36826 - Varley v. First Student, Inc. ("The plaintiff...appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant.... The plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether (1) the defendant was her employer for purposes of analyzing her wrongful discipline and discharge claim under General Statutes § 31-51q, and (2) the defendant tortiously interfered with her contractual employment relationship. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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