Photo of Salvatore G. Gangemi

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.

As we first blogged on May 17, 2019, the Connecticut state hourly minimum wage will increase on August 1, 2021 from $12.00 to $13.00.  The change, made pursuant to Public Act 19-4, “An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage,” will be the third of five scheduled annual increases to Connecticut’s hourly minimum wage since 2019.  A breakdown of the remaining increases under the Act is as follows:
Continue Reading Connecticut Minimum Wage to Increase to $13/hour on August 1, 2021

On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety. The order directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to take action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace. On June 10, 2021, OSHA announced a highly-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) setting forth steps that employers in the healthcare industry must take to protect workers from COVID-19 risks while the pandemic is ongoing. The ETS will become effective 14 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register.
Continue Reading OSHA Announces COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Industry

On May 5, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act), which imposes on all non-public employers significant health and safety standards intended to address the spread of airborne infectious diseases, like COVID-19, in the workplace.  The HERO act is touted as the “first-in-the-nation” statute of its kind, apart from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which until now has governed applicable workplace safety standards.  It is not clear to what extent the HERO Act would be superseded by the OSH Act, but for now employers must ensure that they comply with its mandates.
Continue Reading New York Enacts HERO Act Requiring All Employers to Implement Health and Safety Standards to Address Airborne Infectious Diseases

The CDC has recently recommended that employers appoint “vaccination ambassadors” to encourage employees to get vaccinated.  The EEOC has not commented on the CDC’s recommendation, but based on other pandemic-related guidance issued by the EEOC, employers should consider the employment risks associated with a vaccination ambassador.  These risks include the following:
Continue Reading Is a “Vaccination Ambassador” a Good Idea?

Beginning on January 1, 2022, paid leave benefits under the Connecticut Paid Leave program (CPL) will be available for certain qualifying events under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA), and the Connecticut Family Violence Leave Act.  In the meantime, employers are responsible for complying with certain key dates in advance of January 2022.  On January 1, 2021, employers began withholding employee contributions (0.5% payroll tax) from each employee’s paycheck for ultimate remittance to the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority trust fund, which will fund the payment of CPL benefits.
Continue Reading Reminder: First Quarterly Payment Due on March 31, 2021 Under CT Paid Family and Medical Leave

On January 29, 2021, OSHA posted new guidance intended to inform employers and workers in identifying risks of exposure to COVID-19.  The new guidance applies to industries outside of healthcare.  OSHA previously issued separate guidance applicable to healthcare and emergency response.  The guidance does not create any new legal requirements or obligations, but is advisory only.  OSHA intends for the guidance to assist employers with planning.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues New Guidance on COVID-19

On September 30, 2020, section 196-b of the New York State Labor Law went into effect.  The legislation, which provides for the immediate accrual of employer-provided sick leave, permits sick leave to be taken beginning on January 1, 2021.  We wrote about the New York State Paid Sick Leave law previously, and have outlined the situations under which it must be provided to employees.  Like New York City’s paid sick leave entitlements, the law applies to absences related to an employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking.  For a complete list of reasons and more detail about the accrual of sick leave, take a look at our prior blog.
Continue Reading New York State Paid Sick Leave Law Now in Effect

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) became law on March 18, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As we previously blogged on several (okay, numerous) occasions, the FFCRA comprises the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLA”), which provide paid leave in connection with certain COVID-19 related absences from work. Rather than go into each of those circumstances, you can click on any of the above links to our previous blogs.  Although most employers are required to offer EPSLA and EFMLA leave to employees, employers are not required to extend leave eligibility to a “health care provider.” 
Continue Reading Department of Labor Revises “Health Care Provider” Exemption to COVID-19-Related Paid Sick Leave and Enhanced Family Medical Leave

We have seen a significant number of OSHA investigations in recent weeks in response to reports of employee deaths and illnesses due to COVID-19.  In the height of the pandemic, employers, including nursing homes, were unclear regarding their obligations to report employee incidents of COVID-19 to OSHA due to the difficulty in determining whether such cases were “work-related.”  Below we have outlined OSHA’s reporting requirements and expectations regarding investigations into whether COVID cases are work-related, as well as some practices in responding to OSHA investigations.  Going forward, we encourage employers to ensure they are meeting OSHA requirements and are prepared to timely respond to requests for information as penalties for such violations can be significant.
Continue Reading OSHA Investigations and Employee Deaths and Cases of COVID-19