Employment Law Articles

Prior Notice Not Required to Place GPS Tracking Devices in Company Vehicles

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            In a case of first impression, the Connecticut Superior Court, see in granting a motion to dismiss, found an employer does not violate Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-48d by placing a GPS tracking device in a company vehicle without prior notice to employees operating the vehicle. Vitka v. City of Bridgeport, 2007 Conn. Super LEXIS 3486 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 31, 2007).

Drafting Effective Complaint Procedures

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            When a supervisor engages in discriminatory conduct that causes an employee to suffer a tangible employment loss, such as a termination or loss of pay, the employer is strictly liable for its supervisor’s actions. Where the supervisor’s actions do not result in a loss, or the discrimination is conducted by a co-worker, an employer may avoid liability by raising an affirmative defense that it had in place an effective complaint procedure, and that the employee unreasonably failed to use the procedure to end the discrimination. In a recent case the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that in order for a complaint procedure to be “effective” it must be understandable to the average employee working for the employer. EEOC v. V&J Foods, Inc., 507 F.3d 575 (7th Cir. 2007).

Employee Tattoos and Body Piercings

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            Employers generally have a right to enforce dress codes, as well as grooming and appearance standards. Such policies may limit or prohibit the display of tattoos and piercings. Courts have generally rejected employee complaints raising first amendment claims, or claims of physical appearance discrimination.

Job Offers May be Rescinded Under At-Will Doctrine

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            The Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed a lower court ruling that found the at-will doctrine applies to prospective employees whose offer of employment is withdrawn before their first day of work. Petitte v. DSL.NET, Inc., 102 Conn. App. 363 (2007).

Negative Employment References Receive Greater Protection

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            The Connecticut Supreme Court recently held that employers furnishing negative references will not be subject to liability for defamation, unless their statements were made with malice. Miron v. Univ. of New Haven Police Dept., Conn. Supreme Court, SC 17596 (Sept. 25, 2007). Susan Miron worked as a police officer at the University of New Haven. While employed by the University she applied for a position with the Glastonbury and Enfield police departments. As part of the application process she consented to having the University provide employment references to her prospective employers.


 

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