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Patricia E. Reilly is an experienced litigator who represents clients in a wide range of cases including, employment discrimination and related torts, non-compete and restrictive covenants, wage and hour, breach of contract, unfair trade practices, and business disputes. In addition to maintaining a thriving litigation practice, Tricia counsels clients on a variety of employment-related issues including hiring, firing, and discipline; wage and hour; state and federal FMLA; sexual harassment investigations and prevention; Title IX; pregnancy and disability accommodation; and avoidance of employment discrimination liability.

Tricia is listed as a leading Labor and Employment Lawyer in Chambers USA.  She is listed in Best Lawyers in America®, and in 2017, Best Lawyers in America® recognized her as “Lawyer of the Year”, New Haven, Litigation – Labor and Employment. Tricia is a member of the American Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association and the New Haven County Bar Association.  She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Weeks before the uproar over revelations that U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty paid her chief of staff a $5,000 severance package and signed a non-disclosure agreement concerning sexual harassment allegations made against him, the Connecticut state Senate raised Senate Bill 503, An Act Requiring Approval of State Agency Settlement and Nondisclosure Agreements.”  The bill, if approved by the General Assembly – would require legislative approval of certain payments made to state employees pursuant to a nondisclosure or separation agreement. Continue Reading Connecticut Considers Requiring Legislative Approval of Agency Settlement Payments and Nondisclosure Agreements

In light of all the recent storms, Connecticut employers should be reminded that the Connecticut Department of Labor’s rules on deducting paid time off (“PTO”) from an exempt employee’s PTO bank for office closures differ from federal law.  While federal law allows employers to deduct PTO from an exempt employee’s PTO bank for an office closure, the CT DOL prohibits this practice when the employer chooses to close the office.  By way of reminder, here is the CT DOL guidance on the deduction of PTO from an exempt employee’s PTO bank:

Inclement weather/Furlough days-Related Scenarios for Exempt Employees

  • Employer excuses exempt employee from work: Full salary must be paid. No deduction in salary is permissible. It is also not permissible to use fringe benefit (i.e., PTO) to cover the time.
  • Exempt employee requests day off because of the weather: Reduction in salary is permissible. Fringe benefits (PTO) may be used to cover the time off.
  • Employer excuses exempt employee sometime during the day because of worsening weather: Full salary must be paid. No use of fringe benefits to make up time is permissible.
  • Exempt employee asks to go home because of bad weather after starting work: Time off can be taken from fringe benefits, but employer must pay pro-rata portion of salary for the day to cover time actually worked. If employee has exhausted fringe benefit, the employer must still pay the full salary because the employee worked that day.
  • Employer tells employee that the usual place of work will not open for the day, but that work can still be performed either at home or at some location other than the usual place of work: Full salary must be paid.

CT DOL Guidance

In a significant decision reflecting the evolution of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which covers Connecticut, New York and Vermont, has ruled in Zarda v. Altitude Express, No. 15-3775, en banc, (2d Cir. 2018) that Title VII protects individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, even though Title VII itself does not expressly state that it applies to sexual orientation discrimination. The case provides fascinating insight into how courts’ interpretations of statutes may change over time in light of changing social mores and developing doctrine.  The issue is likely to make its way to the Supreme Court because although the Seventh Circuit (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) agrees that Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination, the Eleventh Circuit (Alabama, Florida and Georgia) has held that it does not. Continue Reading Second Circuit Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The Labor & Employment landscape continues to change and present compliance challenges. These seminars will focus on hot topics in 2018 and will include:

  • 2018 Updates & Trends to Watch
  • Harassment in the Workplace
  • Developments in Immigration Policies Affecting Employers
  • Marijuana in the Workplace

Continue Reading Upcoming Seminar in CT & MA: 2018 Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law

Harassment in the workplace is a common complaint of employees, and creates a liability for your business. The key to the prevention of unlawful harassment in the workplace is training. In this program we will review the law regarding unlawful harassment, as well as best practices to address it and minimize legal liability. These sessions will be conducted by attorneys with years of experience in training and dealing with complaints of harassment.

This program satisfies Connecticut’s mandate that all supervisors in companies with 50 or more employees receive sexual harassment prevention training. This training is required in Connecticut and recommended in Massachusetts. Continue Reading Coming Soon! Workplace Harassment Prevention Training in New Haven & Hartford