Posts tagged with "best employment lawyer westport"

I Was Fired Because of My Race, Sex or Gender; Do I Need a Connecticut Attorney?

The State of Connecticut has in place a very comprehensive statutory scheme, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which strictly prohibits discriminatory practices in employment based on:

Race, color, religious creed, sex, age, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, mental retardation, and learning disability or physical disability.

In all practices by an employer, including hiring and firing, an employer’s decision cannot be based on one of the above bases. In Connecticut, an employer of with just 3 or more employees is subject to the state antidiscrimination laws and can be persecuted for violating them. If an employer is found guilty of employment discrimination there are very serious consequences, both at the state and federal levels. To ensure your rights are protected in such a discriminatory instance, a Connecticut employment law attorney is a necessity. The sooner you contact an experienced Connecticut employment law attorney, the sooner they can help you prevent further discrimination by that employer and remedy the discrimination you have already experienced.

If you are the victim of discriminatory practices and treatment in the workplace, the lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., can assist you effectively and efficiently. To schedule an appointment with one of our Employment Law Group attorneys, call (203) 221-3100 or email Ask@mayalaw.com.

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I Was Fired Because of My Race, Sex or Gender; Do I Need a Connecticut Attorney?

The State of Connecticut has in place a very comprehensive statutory scheme, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which strictly prohibits discriminatory practices in employment based on:

Race, color, religious creed, sex, age, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, mental retardation, and learning disability or physical disability.

In all practices by an employer, including hiring and firing, an employer’s decision cannot be based on one of the above bases. In Connecticut, an employer of with just 3 or more employees is subject to the state antidiscrimination laws and can be persecuted for violating them. If an employer is found guilty of employment discrimination there are very serious consequences, both at the state and federal levels. To ensure your rights are protected in such a discriminatory instance, a Connecticut employment law attorney is a necessity. The sooner you contact an experienced Connecticut employment law attorney, the sooner they can help you prevent further discrimination by that employer and remedy the discrimination you have already experienced.

If you are the victim of discriminatory practices and treatment in the workplace, the lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., can assist you effectively and efficiently. To schedule an appointment with one of our Employment Law Group attorneys, call (203) 221-3100 or email Ask@mayalaw.com.

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How to Defeat a Non-Compete in Connecticut

So you are locked into a non compete agreement, or are you? Here at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport, CT, or employment law attorneys have been enforcing and beating non competes for over a decade. With experience in both New York and Connecticut tribunals, our employment law group has seen it all when it comes to non competes. Below are just a few of the many ways are attorneys have poked holes in non compete agreements and freed our clients from their restraint.

1. Your new job may not violate the precise terms of your non-compete agreement: More often than you might believe, people do not carefully read over the precise words of their non-compete agreement, and don’t carefully consider whether it precludes their intended new job. This potential defense cannot be overlooked, and it often is. For example, in a recent Connecticut court decision, it was held that a lighting fixture employee who transferred to a competitor lighting fixture company did not violate his agreement because his new employer did not have a similar product line in the marketplace and it was unlikely any trade secrets he may know would not be put to use.

2. Too vague: Put simply, a non compete must be concise and clear. It must define exactly what is restricted and not cover “any restaurant in a 30 mile radius” or “all companies who sell light bulbs in America” or “any company that is in the business of selling food.” A court would find such restriction overly broad and void for vagueness.

3. Unclean Hands: In order for an employer to ask a Court to Order an employee to act in good faith and honorably, the employer, itself, must first be doing so. If the employee departed from the company because of extreme harassment or blatant discrimination, the employer’s non-compete enforcement efforts will likely fail. And, too, if the employer was engaged in illegal or dishonest conduct, in which the employee did not want to participate, non-compete efforts for this reason will also likely fail.

4. An employer must have a “legitimate business interest” to enforce a non-compete: The two recognized and accepted purposes of a non-compete agreement are (1) the protection of trade secrets, and (2) the protection of valuable business relations.

5. Overly broad restraint on time, geography or activities: Much like the vagueness discussed above, many non compete agreements are found void for being overly broad. In Connecticut, a non compete agreement must be legitimately related to a genuine business interest the employer has an interest in protecting and limited reasonably in time, duration, and scope. For instance, many courts find broad geographical limitations that fully restraint a persons employment opportunities void for being overly broad. Additionally, restrictions for more than 5 years are often found void for similar purposes.

6. Against Public Policy: Sometimes the effect of a non-compete violates a broader social purpose. For example, if your employer only gave non compete agreements to Hispanic employees or women of the company. The courts would always find these as a violation of public policy.

7. Fraudulent Inducement: It is what it sounds like, your employer lied to you about the non compete either before you signed it or before you left their employ. It usually occurs when an employer orally tells an employee they will not enforce the agreement after they leave or that the employee must sign the agreement on the onset or never receive a bonus of a raise. The court will see that the employer tried to trick you and void the non compete in those instances.

8. Contractual and Factual Defenses: A non-compete agreement is a contract and is always subject to many defenses such as: (a) mistake of fact; (b) unsigned document; (c) forgery; (d) material mistake in formation; (e) duress; (f) and illegality.

These are just some of the many ways to beat a non compete in Connecticut. If you are restricted by a non compete, or are about to be, consult the experience employment law attorneys of Maya Murphy, P.C. before you take your next step. Put experience on your side, call 203-222-MAYA or email Ask@mayalaw.com today!

Credit: Alan Sklover, skloverworkingwisdom blog

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Non-Compete Agreements: A Hot Stove of Debate

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently announced that he is proposing legislation to abolish non-compete agreements. This announcement re-ignited a debate in the Massachusetts community regarding non-compete agreements. In general, more established companies, particularly those in the technology arena, view non-competes as a favorable way of protecting intellectual property and maintaining a competitive edge by preventing former employees from unfairly competing and/or sharing business secrets. In contrast, start-up companies (and some venture capitalists) generally view non-competes as stifling innovation and job growth.

There are only a few states that have banned non-compete agreements in the union,California being one of them. Many point to California’s booming Silicon Valley to show the effectiveness of such unenforceability. With Massachusetts attempting to follow in California’s footsteps, the non-compete argument has heated up in Connecticut as well. Just last year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill restricting the use of non compete agreements only to have it vetoed by Governor Malloy. When speaking on why he vetoed the bill the Governor had the following to say:

“The bill left certain key terms undefined or unclear.” “As a result” he added, “this bill has the potential to produce legal uncertainty and ambiguity in the event of a merger or acquisition. If signed into law, costly and time-consuming litigation would likely be required to provide necessary clarity.” So its back to the drawing board for Connecticut, but maybe they can take notes from how Massachusetts handles the issue later in the year.

By way of background, and in the rare event you have never encountered a non-compete agreement, a typical non-compete agreement involves a company requiring an employee to contractually agree that, if the employee should leave his or her employment with the company, the employee will not work for a competitor within a certain geographic range of the employer for a certain period of time. Non-compete agreements are commonly signed at the beginning of an employment relationship, as a condition of employment, but may be signed during the course of an employment relationship under appropriate circumstances.

The most important thing to know about non-compete agreements is how they effect you in the event of your termination or resignation from your current employer. All too often, these agreements are signed, yet misunderstood by the employee. A non-compete can change your circumstances more than you think; the agreements limit where you can work, when you can work, and who you can work for. For many individuals, a non compete may restrict their entire job pool and leave them with little to no opportunities close to home. For these reasons, it is essential to speak with an experienced employment law attorney before you sign a non compete agreement as a condition of employment.

The attorneys of Maya Murphy, P.C. have been practicing employment law for more than a decade in the tribunals of New York and Connecticut. Feel free to call 203-222-MAYA or email Ask@mayalaw.com to speak with one of our non compete attorneys today.

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Non-Compete Agreements: A Hot Stove of Debate

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently announced that he is proposing legislation to abolish non-compete agreements. This announcement re-ignited a debate in the Massachusetts community regarding non-compete agreements. In general, more established companies, particularly those in the technology arena, view non-competes as a favorable way of protecting intellectual property and maintaining a competitive edge by preventing former employees from unfairly competing and/or sharing business secrets. In contrast, start-up companies (and some venture capitalists) generally view non-competes as stifling innovation and job growth.

There are only a few states that have banned non-compete agreements in the union,California being one of them. Many point to California’s booming Silicon Valley to show the effectiveness of such unenforceability. With Massachusetts attempting to follow in California’s footsteps, the non-compete argument has heated up in Connecticut as well. Just last year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill restricting the use of non compete agreements only to have it vetoed by Governor Malloy. When speaking on why he vetoed the bill the Governor had the following to say:

“The bill left certain key terms undefined or unclear.” “As a result” he added, “this bill has the potential to produce legal uncertainty and ambiguity in the event of a merger or acquisition. If signed into law, costly and time-consuming litigation would likely be required to provide necessary clarity.” So its back to the drawing board for Connecticut, but maybe they can take notes from how Massachusetts handles the issue later in the year.

By way of background, and in the rare event you have never encountered a non-compete agreement, a typical non-compete agreement involves a company requiring an employee to contractually agree that, if the employee should leave his or her employment with the company, the employee will not work for a competitor within a certain geographic range of the employer for a certain period of time. Non-compete agreements are commonly signed at the beginning of an employment relationship, as a condition of employment, but may be signed during the course of an employment relationship under appropriate circumstances.

The most important thing to know about non-compete agreements is how they effect you in the event of your termination or resignation from your current employer. All too often, these agreements are signed, yet misunderstood by the employee. A non-compete can change your circumstances more than you think; the agreements limit where you can work, when you can work, and who you can work for. For many individuals, a non compete may restrict their entire job pool and leave them with little to no opportunities close to home. For these reasons, it is essential to speak with an experienced employment law attorney before you sign a non compete agreement as a condition of employment.

The attorneys of Maya Murphy, P.C. have been practicing employment law for more than a decade in the tribunals of New York and Connecticut. Feel free to call 203-222-MAYA or email Ask@mayalaw.com to speak with one of our non compete attorneys today.

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The Growing Controversy of Non-Compete Agreements

Here is an interesting read from a recent New York Times article by Steven Greenhouse. In the article, Greenhouse discusses the issue that is non-compete agreements in today’s workplace. As many know, non-compete agreements are used more and more frequently throughout almost every industry. What was once a practice limited to tech firms, essential employees and unique services has now been extended to landscapers, hairdressers, and machinists. The Connecticut General Assembly attempted to tackle the issue last year but had its bill vetoed by the Governor. As such, Connecticut still relies on the basic common law premise that such agreements must protect a legitimate business interest and be reasonably limited in time and geographical scope. Read through Greenhouse’s article below:

NY TIMES BOSTON — Colette Buser couldn’t understand why a summer camp withdrew its offer for her to work there this year.

After all, the 19-year-old college student had worked as a counselor the three previous summers at a nearby Linx-branded camp in Wellesley, Mass. But the company balked at hiring her because it feared that Linx would sue to enforce a noncompete clause tucked into Ms. Buser’s 2013 summer employment contract. Her father, Cimarron Buser, testified before Massachusetts state lawmakers last month that his daughter had no idea that she had agreed to such restrictions, which in this case forbade her for one year from working at a competing camp within 10 miles of any of Linx’s more than 30 locations in Wellesley and neighboring Natick. “This was the type of example you could hardly believe,” Mr. Buser (pronounced BOO-ser) said in an interview.

Noncompete clauses are now appearing in far-ranging fields beyond the worlds of technology, sales and corporations with tightly held secrets, where the curbs have traditionally been used. From event planners to chefs to investment fund managers to yoga instructors, employees are increasingly required to sign agreements that prohibit them from working for a company’s rivals.
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John Hazen, head of his own paper company, says the noncompete clauses protect businesses. Credit Matthew Cavanaugh for The New York Times

There are plenty of other examples of these restrictions popping up in new job categories: One Massachusetts man whose job largely involved spraying pesticides on lawns had to sign a two-year noncompete agreement. A textbook editor was required to sign a six-month pact.

A Boston University graduate was asked to sign a one-year noncompete pledge for an entry-level social media job at a marketing firm, while a college junior who took a summer internship at an electronics firm agreed to a yearlong ban.

“There has been a definite, significant rise in the use of noncompetes, and not only for high tech, not only for high-skilled knowledge positions,” said Orly Lobel, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, who wrote a recent book on noncompetes. “Talent Wants to be Free.” “They’ve become pervasive and standard in many service industries,” Ms. Lobel added.

Because of workers’ complaints and concerns that noncompete clauses may be holding back the Massachusetts economy, Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed legislation that would ban noncompetes in all but a few circumstances, and a committee in the Massachusetts House has passed a bill incorporating the governor’s proposals. To help assure that workers don’t walk off with trade secrets, the proposed legislation would adopt tough new rules in that area.

Supporters of the pending legislation argue that the proliferation of noncompetes is a major reason Silicon Valley has left Route 128 and the Massachusetts high-tech industry in the dust. California bars noncompete clauses except in very limited circumstances.

“Noncompetes are a dampener on innovation and economic development,” said Paul Maeder, co-founder and general partner of Highland Capital Partners, a venture capital firm with offices in both Boston and Silicon Valley. “They result in a lot of stillbirths of entrepreneurship — someone who wants to start a company, but can’t because of a noncompete.”
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Backers of noncompetes counter that they help spur the state’s economy and competitiveness by encouraging companies to invest heavily in their workers. Noncompetes are also needed, supporters say, to prevent workers from walking off with valuable code, customer lists, trade secrets or expensive training.

Joe Kahn, Linx’s owner and founder, defended the noncompete that his company uses. “Our intellectual property is the training and fostering of our counselors, which makes for our unique environment,” he said. “It’s much like a tech firm with designers who developed chips: You don’t want those people walking out the door. It’s the same for us.” He called the restriction — no competing camps within 10 miles — very reasonable.

“The ban to noncompetes is legislation in search of an issue,” said Christopher P. Geehern, an executive vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a trade group leading the fight to defeat the proposed restrictions. “They’re used in almost every sector of the economy to the seemingly mutual satisfaction of employers and individuals.”

The legislative fight here pits two powerful groups against each other: venture capitalists opposing noncompetes and many manufacturers and tech companies eager to preserve them.

John Hazen, chief executive at Hazen Paper, said his 230-employee company in Holyoke, Mass., spends heavily to train workers on sophisticated machinery and elaborate papermaking processes.

“Noncompetes reduce the potential for poaching,” said Mr. Hazen, whose company makes scratch lottery tickets and special packaging. “We consider them an important way to protect our business. As an entrepreneur who invests a lot of money in equipment, in intellectual property and in people, I’m worried about losing these people we’ve invested in.”

The United States has a patchwork of rules on noncompetes. Only California and North Dakota ban them, while states like Texas and Florida place few limits on them. When these cases wind up in court, judges often cut back the time restraints if they’re viewed as unreasonable, such as lasting five years or longer.

“In most states there has to be a legitimate business interest, and it has to be narrowly tailored and reasonable in scope and duration,” said Samuel Estreicher, a professor at New York University School of Law.

Daniel McKinnon, who had been a hairstylist in Norwell, Mass., lost a court battle with his former employer who claimed that Mr. McKinnon had violated the terms of his agreement when he went to work at a nearby salon. Mr. McKinnon said that he did not think the original restriction — to wait at least 12 months before working at any salon in nearby towns — still applied because he had been fired after years of friction with the manager there. Shortly after being fired, he went to work at a nearby salon.

But a judge issued an injunction ordering him to stop working at his new employer.

“It was pretty lousy that you would take away someone’s livelihood like that,” said Mr. McKinnon, who for the following year lived off jobless benefits of $300 a week. “I almost lost my truck. I almost lost my apartment. Almost everything came sweeping out from under me.”
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He resisted the idea of traveling miles from his apartment to a new salon, saying that would have meant an unpleasant and costly commute.
“The salon where I worked was doing just fine — I don’t see why they needed to do this,” he said. “I basically had to give up a year of working.”

Wendi S. Lazar, an employment lawyer in Manhattan, said she saw an increase in litigation to enforce noncompetes. “Companies are spending money, hiring lawyers, to go after people — just to put the fear of death in them.”

State Representative Lori Ehrlich, one of the main sponsors of the Massachusetts legislation to bar noncompetes and vice chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, said that many people had complained to her about the restrictions being set for employees.

“It’s hurting growth in the economy by decreasing worker mobility and squelching start-ups,” Ms. Ehrlich, a Democrat, said. “They’re hurting families by making it so people are unable to work for an extended period of time. This has increasingly become exploitative to workers.”

Matthew Marx, a professor of entrepreneurship at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, said a recent study he did found that half of the nation’s engineers had signed noncompetes, with a third lasting more than a year, and some more than two years.

“Where noncompetes are not enforced, there’s a more open labor market — companies compete for talent,” he said. “We used to have a saying at the Silicon Valley start-up where I worked, ‘You never stop hiring someone.’ They can go where they want. People are free to leave and start companies if they’re not happy.”

Professor Marx said California’s ban on noncompetes was a major reason Silicon Valley was thriving. If a few employees there have an innovative idea and their bosses don’t want to pursue it, they can leave to found a start-up. But in Massachusetts, if employees with noncompetes bring that innovative idea to their boss and it is rejected, they are stuck — or they would have to leave the company and wait a year before they could pursue their new idea. (Or they could move to California, where the courts would not enforce the Massachusetts agreement.)

Mr. Geehern of Associated Industries of Massachusetts denied that the California economy, with a 7.8 percent jobless rate, was doing better than the Massachusetts economy, with a 6 percent rate.

“If noncompetes are so onerous and burdensome, why aren’t we seeing a significant migration of talent away from the companies that use noncompetes toward the companies that don’t use them?” he said. “The companies that use noncompetes still attract plenty of the best and brightest.”

Michael Rodrigues, a Democratic state senator from Fall River, Mass., said the government should not be interfering in contractual matters like noncompetes. “It should be up to the individual employer and the individual potential employee among themselves,” he said. “They’re both adults.”

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Maya Murphy is a full service law firm with offices in New York City and Westport, CT. Maya Murphy boasts an experienced roster of employment law attorneys who have practiced in the courts of New York and Connecticut for decades. Headed by Managing Partner Joseph C. Maya, the Employment Law Group at Maya Murphy can help you with non-compete agreements, offer letters, separation agreements, employment contracts, sexual harassment claims and much more. Call 203-222-MAYA or email Ask@mayalaw.com to schedule a consultation today!

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Do I need an attorney if I am harassed at work in Connecticut?

Being a victim of harassment at work puts you in a very difficult position. You may enjoy your job, but someone’s unwanted behavior is interfering with your work performance or someone may be creating a hostile work environment for you. Perhaps your supervisor is the one harassing you, and has made a tangible change in your employment status or benefits (such as in a demotion, a termination or failure to promote). You know you need to do something, but you may be afraid it will cost you your job and future prospects.

First of all, you should know what constitutes harassment. Harassment on the job can take many forms. It may include use of racially derogatory words or comments about someone’s skin color. It may be pictures or gestures that offend a particular racial or ethnic group. Harassment occurs when disparaging comments are made about someone’s gender, religious beliefs (or lack of), birthplace, ancestry, age (someone over 40) or mental or physical impairment. Sexual harassment may include staring in a sexually suggestive manner, making offensive remarks about looks, clothing or body parts, touching in a way that makes someone feel uncomfortable (patting, pinching or brushing up against someone), telling sexual or lewd jokes, displaying sexual posters, making sexual gestures and sending, forwarding or soliciting sexually suggestive letters, notes, emails or images.

Your first course of action is to report an incident of harassment to your supervisor, any member of management and/or the Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity. Your employer should take your complaint seriously, and you should notice some form of action that is meant to stop the harassment.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your complaints to your employer and the harassment continues, the attorneys at Maya Murphy have extensive experience with employment law, including sexual harassment cases. We can assess your case and guide you through the litigation process. Please call us at 203-221-3100, or e-mail us at Ask@Mayalaw.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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