Wage and Hour Issue Articles

Connecticut Independent Contractor Rules

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            The misclassification of employees as independent contractors has garnered a great deal of regulatory interest in Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Labor (“CTDOL”) has recently taken a more aggressive approach toward misclassifications by visiting worksites and conducting audits, without waiting for a complaint to be filed.

            The CTDOL also signed an agreement on September 19, 2011 with the U.S. Department of Labor, including its Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Employee Benefits Security Administration (collectively “DOL”) permitting the two departments to work more closely together, cross-report violations, and coordinate enforcement efforts.

Connecticut Child Labor Laws

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Employment of Minors Generally

            Connecticut law allows minors under the age of 18, who have graduated from high school, to work in any occupation during the same hours as adults; however, such minors are not exempt from federal employment prohibitions. Therefore, employers who are covered by both state and federal law regulating the employment of minors must comply with the more stringent provisions of the two sets of law.

Performing Work at Home Does Not Convert Commute into Paid Time

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           Millions of employees now use laptops and PDAs, such as IPhones and Blackberries, to perform their work. They often check their devices before leaving for work in the morning and after returning home in the evening. A recent case involved whether, under the “continuous workday rule,” employees using electronic devices at home were entitled to be paid for the time spent commuting to and from the office because they worked prior to and after their commute.

Miami-Dade County Enacts Wage Theft Ordinance

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            Miami-Dade became the first county in the nation to adopt a countywide wage theft law. The ordinance, effective on March 1, 2010, applies to private sector employers, prohibits wage theft, and provides administrative procedures and private causes of action. An employer found to be in violation of the ordinance will be required to pay the actual administrative processing and hearing costs as well as restitution to the employee, which would include back wages owed as well as liquidated damages of double that amount, and possibly treble damages.

Rules Governing Unpaid Internships

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            With the poor economy employers are seeing more adults willing to take unpaid internships to get their foot in the door. Questions often arise whether it is legal to hire them without pay.


 

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