Employment Law Articles

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.

Health Insurance and the Morbidly Obese Employee

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Issue

Can an employer introduce differentiated health insurance premiums for morbidly obese individuals without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act?

Brief Answer

An employer can charge morbidly obese employees a higher premium only if it can prove that the distinctions are based on sound actuarial principles, or are related to actual or reasonably anticipated experience, and that employees with other conditions that pose the same risks and costs are charged the same higher rate.    

Taxability of Attorney’s Fees

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            On October 22, 2004 President Bush signed the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (the “Act”) into law. A key provision of the Act permits employees to fully deduct attorney fees and court costs paid by, or on behalf of, the employee in connection with any action involving a claim of unlawful discrimination.


 

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