Employment Law Articles

Employees Increasingly Addicted to Technology

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            According to the American Physical Therapy Association over 2.5 million employees use a Blackberry or similar hand held device. Their use has increased the number of musculoskeletal disorders, including repetitive stress injuries, which now account for one-third of all workplace injuries. So called “Black Berry Thumb,” defined as pain or numbness in the thumbs and hands caused by too much time using a personal data assistant (“PDA”) to check, compose and send emails and instant messages across the internet is the newest form of injury.

Employer Has Duty to Provide Emergency Aid to Employee Falling Ill at Work

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            The Connecticut Superior Court found that an employer has a duty to care for and furnish medical aid to an employee who in the course of his employment suffers an injury, or is suddenly stricken by illness, where such action is demanded to save life or prevent further serious bodily harm. Parekh v. DST Output, CV054013796 (Conn. Super. Ct. Feb. 10, 2006). The employee’s estate sued the employer for failing to render adequate emergency care when the employee fell ill while at work. The employee died as a result of his illness.

Actual Injury Required for Breach of Loyalty Claim

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In a case of first impression, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently held that an employer bringing suit against a former employee for breach of the duty of loyalty must prove a specific loss in order to state a cause of action. News America Marketing In-Store, Inc. v. Marquis, 276 Conn. 310 (2005).

Connecticut Hand’s-Free Law Impacts Employer Liability

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            Effective October 1, 2005, individuals may no longer use “hand-held mobile telephones” while driving in Connecticut. (CT Public Act No. 05-220). A “hand held mobile telephone” is defined as a phone requiring at least one hand to talk or listen. Using a hand to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of the phone is still permitted. In addition, calls made in emergency situations to 911 operators, hospitals, physicians, fire officials or police departments are exempt from the Act.

Off Duty Tobacco Use Protected in Connecticut

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            A recent attempt by a Michigan based employer to terminate employees for their off the job use of tobacco has drawn national attention. The employer’s policy prohibits employees from using tobacco at any time. In addition, the company conducts pre-employment tobacco testing, and random tests for tobacco use. It even permits the employer to search employees for tobacco products based on reasonable suspicion. Violations can result in termination.


 

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