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Salvatore G. Gangemi is a Partner in the Litigation Department of Murtha Cullina and a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group. He advises clients with respect to state, federal and local employment laws. In addition, he litigates matters involving misappropriation of trade secrets, restrictive covenants, breach of employment contract, fiduciary duty, and other work-related common law claims. Sal also counsels clients on day-to-day issues involving workplace management and administration, including requests for reasonable accommodation for disabilities, for family and medical leave, and wage and hour issues.  He conducts employment law training on a variety of topics, including sexual harassment prevention and wage/ hour compliance.  He also drafts employment policies and agreements, and assists clients in auditing worker classification practices and policies both in the context of the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws governing independent contractor determinations.

On January 6, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont signed bipartisan legislation addressing rates of pay for restaurant workers. The Governor vetoed a previous version of the bill which would have applied retroactively and effectively ended the viability of approximately two dozen pending minimum wage lawsuits. The new law does not apply retroactively, allowing the pending minimum wage suits to proceed.

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Next month, Connecticut legislators from across the political spectrum are set to formally introduce a bill prohibiting employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s age, birthday, or graduation date, unless necessary for a bona fide employment reason.  At an announcement on Thursday, January 16, 2020, a wide ranging group of elected officials and other stakeholders heralded the measure as a protection for older workers facing age discrimination in the labor market.  Connecticut has the sixth oldest workforce in the country.  A similar bill, H.B. No. 6113, passed the Labor Committee last year, but was never presented for a vote in the House.

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For the first time in sixty years, the U.S Department of Labor is substantively revising the regulation that articulates when two people or businesses are “joint employers” of an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The final version of Joint Employer Status under the FLSA will be published this Thursday, January 16, and is effective on March 16, 2020.  See 29 CFR Part 791.  The unpublished version is available here.  The revisions are meant to “reduce uncertainty over joint employer status, promote greater uniformity among court decisions, reduce litigation, and encourage innovation in the economy.”  Franchise chains, temp agencies, and businesses that outsource their workforces are among those that will benefit from the revised rule.

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In 2019, the New York State Legislature championed a host of employment laws that strengthen protections for employees.  One of those laws codified new requirements for non-disclosure agreements, which are effective as of October 11, 2019.  To ensure enforceability of non-disclosure provisions, employers must account for the following provisions:
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On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final overtime rule as it relates to the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees. The DOL estimates that 1.3 million workers will be eligible for overtime pay as a result of its final rule.  Here is how the new rule will impact workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
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Monumental changes to Connecticut employment law are on the horizon.

Late last week, the House approved a bill creating a paid family and medical leave program in Connecticut. Senate Bill 0001, “An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave,” creates a Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) program to provide wage replacement benefits to certain employees taking leave for reasons allowed under Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA).
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Effective May 10, 2020, New York City’s Human Rights Law will prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to submit to a marijuana or THC drug test as a condition of employment, with some limited exceptions. The NYC law is the first to ban pre-employment testing, but likely not the last in light of increasing momentum to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. 
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I’ve said before and I’ll say it again.  Zero-tolerance policies are a bad idea when addressing sexual harassment complaints.  In fact, they shouldn’t even apply to complaints about discrimination or workplace infractions.  Although zero-tolerance policies convey the impression that an employer is taking a hard line stand against conduct it wants to discourage or eliminate, the reality is a little more complicated, just like the workplace.
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