Connecticut employers and small businesses often look to save money on payroll expenses by classifying individuals as independent contractors rather than employees. The practice, while not forbidden, is laden with risk. In order to compete, businesses in some industries decide to take that risk. Those companies that don’t take the risk, experience a hit to their profit margins.
The use of electronic communications and internet in the workplace makes it increasingly important for Connecticut employers, especially small businesses, to understand some basic laws governing what they can and cannot do when monitoring their employees’ electronic activity.
The Connecticut Electronic Monitoring Act
Yes, Connecticut employers may drug test their current employees, but not randomly unless the job is high-risk or safety sensitive. And thank God, since one report finds that 1 out of every 10 employees comes to work high on marijuana. Connecticut has a specific statute that allows employers to drug test current employees; only under certain circumstances and only if they comply with the statute.
Employers and other defendants got a big win last week at the appellate court in Connecticut. In Palumbo v. Barbadimos (you can read the opinion here) the appellate court held that the defendant-employer had obtained a "vested right" to a trial before a judge once the plaintiff failed to claim a jury trial within the 10 day statutory time limit. Connecticut requires parties to file a jury claim within 10 days of the last pleading being filed to preserve the constitutional right to a jury trial.
You want a non-competition or non-solicitation agreement your company can enforce, right? Stupid question, you say. Well, companies need to analyze the language in their contracts if that's their goal (some agreements I've seen make me doubt what the company's goal was, as if simply having something signed protected them.)
It seems, from our practice at least, that the number of Connecticut Department of Labor investigations is increasing. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor has collected $1.6 billion dollars in back wages since 2009 through its investigation efforts.