Employment Law Articles

Further Limitations Placed on Use of Criminal Records

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             Effective October 1, 2014, Connecticut further limited the rights of employers to use criminal records in making employment decisions. Public Act 14-27 amends Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i, subsections (d) and (e), which up to this point prohibited employers from denying employment to a prospective employee, or discriminating against or discharging a current employee, solely on the basis that the employee, or prospective employee, had a prior arrest, criminal charge, or conviction, the records of which had been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o, or 54-142a. Further, employers were prohibited from considering convictions where the employee or prospective employee received a provisional pardon pursuant to 54-130a. For current employees, these rules applied only to arrests, criminal charges and convictions that occurred prior to the time of employment. 

Employees Gain Rapid Access to Personnel, Disciplinary and Performance Documents

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             Effective October 1, 2013, Connecticut employees will be able to inspect and/or obtain copies of their personnel file more quickly than in the past.  Also, employees will now be entitled to copies of any disciplinary documentation, notices of termination, and performance evaluations.  They retain the right to refute the contents of any such document, in writing.  P.A. 13-176. 

            Previously, employers were required to let employees inspect their personnel files, or get copies, within a “reasonable period.”  This left the time frame ambiguous and made enforcement difficult.  Now, employers have seven (7) business days to comply once they receive a written request from a current employee.  Requests from former employees must be complied with within ten (10) business days, provided the request is received in writing within one (1) year following termination.

Careless Drafting of Non-Compete Agreements Can Lead to Enforceability Problems

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             A recent Florida Appellate Court case highlights the need to carefully draft non-compete agreements.  Heiderich v. Florida Equine Veterinary Services, Inc.  In that case, the ex employee was prohibited from “owning, managing, operating, controlling, being employed by, assisting, participating in, or having any material interest in any business engaged in a general equine veterinary practice within 30 miles of the former employer.”  The former employee opened an office just outside the 30 mile zone and treated patients, including those of the former employer, within the 30 mile zone.  The former employer sought an injunction, but the Appellate Court found for the former employee.  In doing so, it interpreted the relevant clause to prohibit the former employee from establishing a physical location within 30 miles, but it did not prevent the performance of competitive services within 30 miles.

It's Good to be King

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            According to the AFL-CIO, chief executives of the nation’s largest companies earned an average of $12.3 million in total pay last year, or 355 times more than the $34,645 earned by the typical American worker. In contrast, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, made $302,000 in total compensation, or 8.7 times the average worker. The discrepancy in pay between CEOs and average workers has skyrocketed over the years. In 1980, CEO pay was only 42 times that of the average worker. While the 2012 figure is significant, it is actually lower than the peak year of 2000 when CEOs earned 525 times the amount paid to those working for them.

Complying with the New I-9 Requirements

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            As of May 7, 2013, all employers were required to begin using newly revised I-9 Forms for all new hires, or for employees subject to reverification. The new form, along with applicable instructions, is available here. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals hired in the United States. This includes citizens as well as non-citizens. Employers failing to use the new form will be subject to civil penalties.


 

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