Employment Law Articles

Non-Competes Unenforceable Unless they Protect Legitimate Business Interests

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           In Creative Dimensions, Inc. v. Laberge, 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1464 (May 31, 2012), the Connecticut Superior Court rejected an employer’s attempt to enforce a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement because the company was unable to prove the agreement was tailored to protect a legitimate business interest. In reaching its decision, the court relied on a five factor test previously articulated by the Connecticut Supreme Court to determine whether restrictive covenants are enforceable.

Drafting At-Will Language Gets More Complicated

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            The Appellate Court of Connecticut recently found an employment contract for a definite period was not subject to the “at-will” doctrine because the grounds for termination were not expressly stated. Cruz v. Visual Perceptions, LLC, 136 Conn. App. 330 (2012).

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

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            Effective October 1, 2012, Connecticut will become the 17th state in the nation to permit the use of medical marijuana (P.A. No. 12-55).   The new law permits individuals to possess marijuana for palliative purposes to alleviate the symptoms of a debilitating medical condition. Those covered by the Act are also protected against discrimination in employment.

Connecticut Supreme Court Limits Employee Free Speech Protections

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            The Connecticut Supreme Court recently issued two important decisions limiting employee free speech claims, Schumann v. Dianon Systems, Inc., 304 Conn. 585 (2012) and Perez-Dickson v. City of Bridgeport, 304 Conn. 483 (2012). Both cases centered on whether employers violate Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51q when they discipline employees for statements made in connection with the performance of their job duties.

Employer's Guide to Connecticut Employment Laws

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At-Will Nature of Employment

            Connecticut recognizes the “at-will” doctrine. This means that all employment relationships, except those stating a definite duration, or a “just cause” standard for termination, can be terminated by either party, at any time, with or without notice, for any reason, or no reason at all, provided the termination is not for an unlawful reason. Terminations for an unlawful reason include those based on illegal discrimination, or in violation of statutory rights, or in violation of public policy. Terminations in violation of public policy include cases where the employee was unlawfully fired for reporting regulatory violations, and refusing to work in an unsafe environment See Parsons v. United Technology Corp., 243 Conn. 66 (1997) and Sheets v. Teddy’s Frosted Foods, Inc., 179 Conn. 471 (1980) for a discussion of the public policy concept.


 

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