Employment Law Articles

Connecticut Medical Marijuana Law Not Pre-empted by Federal Statutes

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           In a case of first impression, the federal District Court of Connecticut held that the state’s medical marijuana law is not pre-empted by federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana for any reason.  Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co, LLC.  As such, employers may no longer rely on federal law to automatically deny applicants employment, or terminate employees, testing positive for marijuana, provided such persons are considered “qualifying patients” under the Connecticut statute, referred to as PUMA, the Palliative Use of Marijuana Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. section 21a-408, et seq.

Employer Rights When Employees Breach Their Duty of Loyalty

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The duty of loyalty is a common law concept whereby employees owe their employer a certain degree of allegiance by not competing against them while employed, or obtaining monetary gains that are rightfully those of the employer.  The Connecticut Supreme Court recently reviewed the obligations employees owe their employer, and the damages available should employees breach their duty.  Wall Systems v. Pompa, 324 Conn. 718 (2017).

Recent Changes in Connecticut Law Impact Employee Handbooks and Forms

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Outdated employee handbooks can create legal liabilities and provide incorrect information to supervisors who depend on them when making important decisions.  Over the past year, legislative measures have changed employer obligations in significant ways.  Your handbook and other relevant forms, such as employment applications, I-9s, and leave forms, should be modified to reflect these changes.

Fire the Parent; Get Sued by the Kids

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            The Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled that under certain circumstances children can bring claims against negligent parties, including employers, whose actions deprive the children of parental consortium.  Campos v Coleman.  In doing so, the Court overruled a case it decided differently in 1998, Mendillo V. Board of Education.

Navigating Connecticut's Drug Testing Laws

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            Most employers are familiar with Connecticut’s drug testing statute that regulates urine-based sampling and analysis. In a nutshell, under the law, an employer who has reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence may send the employee for a urine based test.  Before taking any adverse action, including termination, the initial test must be confirmed by a more sensitive second test.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-51x and 31-51u.  Similar testing protocols apply to prospective employees, however, reasonable suspicion is not needed to test job candidates.  31-51v.


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