Overview

Pullman & Comley’s Labor, Employment Law & Employee Benefits practice is committed to providing prompt, practical assistance to clients of all sizes in the areas of private and public sector labor and employment law.

Our attorneys regularly advise clients in all aspects of labor, employment law and employee benefits, including litigation, counseling and training,  immigration law and union management issues. Our attorneys also provide sophisticated investigation services to private and public entities.  Our goal is to help clients develop and maintain employee relations practices that comply with the law and serve their business objectives. We provide effective preventative counseling and aggressively defend our clients’ personnel decisions.  We counsel clients on all aspects of the employment relationship including hiring, discipline and termination.  Additionally, we handle all aspects of employee benefits plans for both taxable and tax-exempt employers.

Our attorneys regularly handle employment matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States. We litigate employment disputes of every type, including discrimination and retaliation claims, trade secret and noncompete agreements, ERISA claims and other contract and employment-related tort claims. We negotiate and draft labor agreements, employment and severance agreements and virtually every type of employment-related documents, including nondisclosure and restrictive covenant agreements, and grievance resolutions.

The attorneys in our Labor, Employment Law & Employee Benefits practice cover developments in labor, employment and employee benefits law in: "Working Together," a blog found at http://workingtogether.pullcomblog.com.

News & Insights

Events

Publications

Case Studies

Working Together Blog

Working Together Blog

The attorneys in our Labor, Employment Law & Employee Benefits practice cover developments in labor, employment and employee benefits law in: "Working Together," a blog found at http://workingtogether.pullcomblog.com.  Our most recent Working Together posts are highlighted below. 

We have been closely monitoring the legal implications of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic for employers, and have been responding to a broad range of client questions. For a complete list of all of our firm's advisories related to COVID-19, please visit our FOCUS-Responding to COVID-19 page.

Quirky Quarantine Quandary: The New Changes to Connecticut’s Travel Advisory That May Leave Employers with More Questions Than Answers – July 24, 2020
On July 21, 2020, Governor Lamont signed Executive Order 7III, strengthening the travel advisory he issued on June 24.

Don’t Hand Off the Handbook: Why Employers Must Prioritize Updating Workplace Policies – July 21, 2020 
As most employers know firsthand, the host of complicated rules and regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges in recent months. Although employers have generally been quick to adopt and enforce policies addressing COVID-19-related issues, the rapidly changing guidance has also necessitated swift revisions as best practices and requirements continue to change from day to day.

Pandemic Pandemonium (Summer Vacation Edition): How the Governor’s Latest Executive Order Complicates FFCRA Leave for Employers – July 6, 2020
Last week, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7BBB, instructing all travelers entering Connecticut from states experiencing high rates of COVID-19 infection to self-quarantine in accordance with CDC guidance. While these restrictions certainly complicate travel and vacation plans for employees, the E.O. also raises concerns for employers.

The EEOC Issues New Guidance Regarding Antibody Testing in the Wake of COVID-19 – June 19, 2020
On June 17, 2020, the EEOC updated an FAQ list with new guidance stating that employers may not use antibody tests in deciding whether to return employees to work. 

EEOC Makes Clear That COVID-19 Cannot be Used to Justify Discrimination Against Employees Based on Age or Other Characteristics – June 16, 2020
The EEOC makes it clear that COVID-19 is not an excuse to discriminate against employees who are over the age of 65, pregnant, or otherwise protected from discrimination, even when decisions are made with the intent to protect the employees’ health.

Supreme Court Extends Title VII Protections to Gay and Transgender Employees in Bostock v. Clayton County – June 15, 2020
In a landmark ruling that is both one of the most important employment-discrimination cases in years and a watershed victory for LGBTQ rights, on June 15, 2020 the United States Supreme Court held by a 6-3 vote that “an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender” violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Connecticut Announces Rules for Phase 2 of Reopening – June 8, 2020
On June 6, 2020, Governor Lamont announced the rules for the second phase of Connecticut’s reopening plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, planned to take effect on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

Returning the Reluctant Employee to Work: How the Governor’s Latest Executive Order May Allow Employees Who Refuse to Return to Work to Collect Unemployment Benefits – June 4, 2020
In determining if work is suitable, Executive Order 7UU requires the DOL  to “consider the degree of risk to the individual’s health or, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the health of a member of that individual’s household.”

Crystal Clear Compliance: Connecticut Outlines How COVID-19 Sector Rules Will Be Enforced Against Non-Compliant Businesses – May 26, 2020
Local health officials, local law enforcement, cities, and towns will be primarily responsible for enforcing the Sector Rules and other public health regulations. Businesses may be inspected to ensure compliance, and employees, customers, residents, and visitors are being encouraged to report bona fide violations to local law enforcement.

Tips from the Tax Man: A Reminder to Employers About the New Tax Credits Available – May 21, 2020
The IRS recently released guidance reminding employers about three new refundable tax credits that may be available to businesses impacted by COVID-19. As businesses prepare to reopen, these tax credits can provide employers with valuable resources to maximize their budgets and bring employees back to work quickly.

UPDATE: OSHA Backtracks from April Policy that Exempted Most Employers from Tracking Workers’ COVID-19 Infections – May 20, 2020
On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued new guidance advising employers of a significant change in recording requirements when employees contract COVID-19, clarifying that all employers who are required to maintain OSHA injury and illness logs (often referred to as OSHA 300 Logs) must record work-related cases of COVID-19.

Certain CT Businesses Permitted to Open May 20 with Restrictions – May 11, 2020
On May 9, 2020, Governor Lamont announced rules for the reopening of certain non-essential businesses in the state on May 20. This alert provides an overview of the first phase of Connecticut’s reopening plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes outdoor restaurants, offices, retail stores, outdoor museums and zoos.

Don’t Ask: New Department of Labor Guidance Restricts Employers from Requiring Documentation from Employees Seeking Paid Leave Under the FFCRA – May 8, 2020
On May 7, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor added questions 89-93 to its list of FAQs about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which provide guidance about the Act’s paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave provisions; #92 significantly reduces an employer’s ability to request documentation from employees seeking leave under the FFCRA.

IRS Issues FAQs Regarding CARES Act Distributions and Loans from Employee Benefit Plans – May 7, 2020
An overview of new questions and answers issued by the IRS on May 4, 2020, regarding coronavirus-related relief for participants in retirement plans and IRAs.

CHRO Offers Extension of Deadline for Employers to Provide Sexual Harassment Training to New Employees – May 6, 2020
Under Connecticut’s “Time’s Up Act,” all employers with three or more employees must provide a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all employees prior to October 1, 2020, or within six months of hire. In light of the COVID-19 emergency, the CHRO has extended the deadline for training new employees (hired after October 1, 2019).

More Disaster Relief for Employee Benefit Plans Due to COVID-19 – May 4, 2020
On April 28, 2020, the Employee Benefits Security Administration issued three documents related to COVID-19 relief; this post provides an overview of one of the three, EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-20 (EBSA Notice 2020-01).

Yes, We’re Open: Important Considerations for Employers Preparing to Reopen in a Post-COVID-19 World – April 30, 2020
Having adequate policies and protocols in place is critical both to keeping employees safe in the workplace and to reducing employers’ potential exposure to liability should employees contract COVID-19 after returning to work.

Update: July 15, 2020 is the Last Day for Making IRA and HSA Contributions – April 29, 2020
IRA and HSA contributions for the 2019 tax year can be made up until July 15, 2020, the extended date for filing and paying 2019 individual income taxes.

What Steps to Take When an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19 – April 28, 2020
A summary of guidance from the CDC and other sources that will provide employers with a game plan to keep both employees and workplaces safe and help avoid legal exposure. 

Obliging OSHA: How New COVID-19 Guidance Impacts Employers’ Workplace Recordkeeping and Reporting Obligations – April 24, 2020
In complying with OSHA’s requirements, employers should keep in mind that an illness like COVID-19 is characterized as work-related, and therefore reportable to OSHA, if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to it or aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.

The Latest Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Paid Leave (and Some Common Questions) – April 24, 2020
Answers to some commonly asked questions in light of recently issued Department of Labor guidance.

DECD’s Safe Workplace Rules Regarding “Face-Coverings” and Executive Order 7BB – April 22, 2020
Apparently responding to common sense concerns, the DECD revised its Rules on April 21 with respect to situations where employees are outdoors or in discrete indoor settings.

The EEOC Issues Yet More Guidance on the ADA Accommodations and COVID-19 – April 22, 2020
As the country starts discussing the possibility of businesses reopening, the EEOC has, again, updated its guidance on COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This third installment focuses heavily on accommodation of employees in the time of COVID-19 and is an extension to the agency’s prior Q&A.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order Requiring Face Coverings: Its Impact Upon Employers – April 20, 2020
On April 17, 2020, Governor Lamont issued EO 7BB requiring persons to wear “face-coverings” (e.g., masks) in public, effective as of 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020.

EEOC Issues More Guidance on ADA and the Coronavirus – April 14, 2020
The EEOC has again revised its guidance on the ADA and the coronavirus in the workplace, providing further guidance designed to protect employees’ medical information and prevent discrimination while allowing employers to continue to comply with the CDC’s guidance regarding protecting workers’ health.

The Scope of the “Health Care Providers” Exclusion from the FFCRA Leave Laws – April 8, 2020
On April 6, 2020, the U.S Department of Labor published a “Temporary Rule” in the Federal Register implementing the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA, including a section concerning health care employers’ option to exclude “health care providers” from the paid leaves provided by the Act. 

The $600 Question: Which Furloughed or Laid Off Employees Are Eligible for Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Under the CARES Act? – March 31, 2020
The CARES Act provides an additional $600 in federally-funded dollars each week to the unemployment compensation benefit of each eligible worker. 

Remote Inspection of I-9 Documents Now Permitted in Limited Circumstances During Coronavirus Emergency – March 31, 2020
ICE has announced that effective immediately, “employers taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19” will be temporarily allowed to review new employees’ “section 2” documents remotely when completing I-9 forms.

Mobilizing the National Guard Against COVID-19: A Primer on Employer Obligations Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act – March 31, 2020
Nearly 10,000 National Guardsmen have been called up across the United States to perform a variety of missions in support of efforts to combat COVID-19.  What does this mean for employers who have employees activated by the National Guard or Reserve to take part in these response efforts? 

The CARES Act Impacts Qualified Retirement Plans and IRAs: Temporary Relief for Employees, Plan Participants and IRA Owners – March 31, 2020
A summary of key provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that affect retirement plans.

No Coronavirus-Related Furloughs of H-1B Employees – March 30, 2020
Many employers financially strained by the coronavirus outbreak are considering employee furloughs rather than outright layoffs, especially given the hopefully short duration of the crisis.  This is generally impossible in the case of H-1B employees, however, due to the Department of Labor’s “no-benching” rule.

Families First Coronavirus Relief Act Notice Must Be Posted by April 1, 2020 – DOL Poster Should Be Posted at Worksites AND Emailed or Mailed to Teleworking Employees – March 29, 2020
On March 26, 2020, the federal Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released a new model notice that employers must use to satisfy FFCRA’s employee notice obligations.

The CT DOL’S Shared Work Program Might Reduce Labor Costs Without Permanent Layoffs – March 24, 2020
With the impact of COVID-19, many employers are confronting a loss of demand for their goods and services and facing the prospect of laying off employees.  Connecticut employers may have another option: the Shared Work Program.

Small and Mid-Size Businesses Should be Able to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus Related Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – March 24, 2020
Eligible Employers have two ways in which the cost of paid leave related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act may be recouped.

DECD Guidance on Connecticut Governor’s Executive Order 7H – March 23, 2020
On March 22, 2020, the Connecticut DECD issued legally binding guidance about which businesses are deemed essential in accordance with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H; here is a summary of its more salient provisions.

Connecticut DECD Issues Guidance on Businesses Considered “Essential” for Purposes of Governor’s Executive Order – March 22, 2020
The Office of the Governor worked with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to develop guidance for all businesses relating to the Governor’s Executive Order suspending “Non-Essential In-Person Business Operations.”  The guidance, issued March 22, can be found here.

EEOC Clarifies That Employers May Temperature-Test Employees During COVID-19 Pandemic - March 22, 2020
The EEOC recently updated its guidance to allow more medical testing in the workplace, including clear guidance that checking employees’ temperatures is allowed in light of the current pandemic.

Initial Guidance on the Governor’s Executive Order on the Closure of “Non-Essential Businesses”- March 21, 2020
Governor Lamont's latest Executive Order calls for all non-essential businesses and not for profit entities to reduce their in-person workforces at any workplace by 100% by 8 p.m. on March 23, 2020.

A COVID-19 “WARN-ing” for Employers: The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act Still Applies to Certain Layoffs and Plant Closures – March 20, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has already forced many companies to lay off employees, and others will be doing so in the days and weeks ahead.  Those companies must consider whether compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN”) is necessary.

Potential Immigration Compliance Issues Raised by Coronavirus Travel Restrictions, Work-from-Home Policies, and Layoffs – March 20, 2020
As the spread of COVID-19 prompts increasing travel restrictions, and as layoffs become an unfortunate reality in many industries, both U.S. employers and employees holding temporary work visas in the United States need to be aware of potential immigration-law complications.  Here are some initial considerations.

UPDATE: What Will the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act" Mean for Employers? – March 19, 2020
On March 18 the Senate passed and the President signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”  Here is a brief summary of what two of its provisions – the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act – will mean for employers.

How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act During a Pandemic – March 17, 2020
Employers must make reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities that would have increased risks from contracting COVID-19 - as long as what is being requested is a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to continue to perform their essential job functions without causing the employer undue hardship.

CMS FAQ re Essential Health Coverage and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – March 17, 2020
On March 12, 2020, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight issued an FAQ regarding coverage for diagnosis and

Guidance for Employers on Accommodating the Child Care Needs of Employees Amidst COVID-19 School Closures – March 16, 2020
With the closure of Connecticut schools, and potential closure of daycare facilities in the future, now is the time for employers to decide how they will accommodate employees in need of child care.

What Will the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” Mean for Employers? - March 16, 2020
This post was updated in a March 19 alert found here.

ALERT: Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and COVID-19 - March 13, 2020
The United States Department of Labor has issued “COVID-19 or other Public Health Emergencies and the Family and Medical Leave Act Questions and Answers” providing clarifications regarding Federal FMLA coverage.

IRS Guidance:  High Deductible Health Plans May Waive Deductible for COVID-19 Testing - March 13, 2020
Employers and health plans that want to provide some relief for participants during the spread of COVID-19 may waive deductibles for COVID-19 testing without violating IRS high deductible health plan rules.

Coronavirus and the Workplace - Employers Considering Taking Employees' Temperature at Work Should Proceed with Caution - March 12, 2020
Employers contemplating this measure should proceed with caution and consider a number of issues before temperature-testing their employees.

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