Posts tagged with "employment"

Proxy/Alter Ego Liability for Sexual Harassment

Liability in Workplace Sexual Harassment

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (that includes Connecticut and New York) addressed for the first time whether the so-called Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense is available when an alleged sexual harassment attacker holds a sufficiently high position within an organization so as to be considered the organization’s proxy or alter ego.  The Second Circuit joined the other Circuits that have considered the issue in concluding that under those circumstances, the affirmative defense was unavailable to the employer.

By way of background, Faragher/Ellerth held that a company could escape vicarious liability for sexual harassment by taking certain steps directed toward reporting and eradicating sexual harassment in the workplace.  Left open was the issue of the employer’s direct liability where the actor was deemed to be the proxy/alter ego of the company.  Under that doctrine, an employer is liable in its own right for wrongful harassing conduct, as opposed to being vicariously liable for the actions of company agents.

A Company’s Proxy or Alter Ego

But who is the company’s proxy or alter ego?  Prior cases clearly place the company president and other sufficiently senior corporate officers within that category, and refer to “that class of an organization’s officials who may be treated as the organization’s proxy.”  Understandably, the courts do not want to draw a bright line around who may be considered an employer proxy, so that unusual cases can be determined on their peculiar facts without being constrained by particular titles.

All that is required is for the supervisor to occupy a sufficiently high position in the management hierarchy of the company for his actions to be imputed to the company.  When the official’s unlawful harassment is thus automatically charged to the employer, it cannot raise the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense, even if the harassment did not result in an adverse employment action.

The result is a settling of the law in the Connecticut federal court; the Faragher/Ellerth defense is unavailable when the alleged harasser is the employer’s proxy or alter ego.  Both employers and employees now know better where they stand.

The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. Should you have any questions about Title VII and workplace discrimination or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut, by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at

Enforcing a Non-Compete Agreement in a Medical Partnership

Fairfield County Bariatrics and Surgical Associates, P.C. v. Ehrlich, 2010 Conn. Super. LEXIS 568
Employment Background

Doctors Neil and Craig Floch created Floch Surgical Associates in 1999 in Norwalk, Connecticut to provide medical and surgical services to patients.  They decided to gear their practice toward bariatric surgery and hired Dr. Timothy Ehrlich, a board-certified general surgeon and graduate of Louisiana State University School of Medicine, in 2002.  He was granted surgical privileges at Norwalk Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital (in Bridgeport, CT) and operated as the only member of the medical group to perform bariatric surgeries exclusively.  On January 1, 2006, the two Floch doctors and Dr. Ehrlich formed Fairfield Bariatrics and Surgical Associates, P.C. (FCB).

Each doctor became a third shareholder in the professional corporation and signed identical employment agreements that outlined the compensation schedule, termination protocols, and included a non-compete agreement.  The non-compete prohibited each doctor, for two years after termination, from practicing general medicine/surgery within fifteen miles of FCB’s main office in Norwalk and barred performing bariatric procedures at hospitals located in Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Danbury, and Bridgeport.

Doctors Neil and Craig Floch voted to terminate Dr. Ehrlich in July 2009 and notified him of the decision in a letter dated July 30, 1999.  They justified his termination by claiming that he repeatedly “misrepresented the group” and had lost his surgical privileges at Norwalk Hospital due to non-compliance with the hospital’s Trauma Service requirements.

Violating the Restrictive Covenant

Dr. Ehrlich proceeded to form his own limited liability company, Ehrlich Bariatrics LLC, on October 22, 2009 and opened offices in Waterford and Trumbull.  Both of these municipalities are located outside of the prohibited area created by the non-compete agreement but he also continued to perform operations at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, an activity expressly prohibited by the restrictive covenant.

FCB sued Dr. Ehrlich in Connecticut court and requested that the court enforce the provisions outlined in the non-compete agreement dated January 1, 2006.  The court found in favor of FCB, determined that Dr. Ehrlich had violated a valid non-compete agreement, and enforced the provisions of the covenant not to compete.

The court stated that the challenging party (Dr. Ehrlich for this case) bore the burden of proof to demonstrate that the agreement was unenforceable.  He asserted that he had not been properly terminated and that the agreement itself was unreasonable, and therefore unenforceable.  The court rejected both of these arguments and concluded that the agreement was valid and enforceable.

Improper Termination Argument

Dr. Ehrlich advanced the unconvincing argument that he was the victim of improper termination because the shareholders meeting at which the vote was taken to terminate his employment was not properly noticed pursuant to the corporation’s by-laws.  He essentially contended that the “lack of notice renders his termination a nullity”.

The court however disagreed with Dr. Ehrlich because a physician whose termination is being voted on is not entitled to cast a vote.  The lack of voting power for this matter meant that his presence was not required and he was not entitled to notice of the special shareholders meeting where the vote was taken.  The court ultimately concluded that Doctors Neil and Craig Floch had taken the proper and necessary steps in accordance with the corporation’s by-laws to terminate Dr. Ehrlich’s employment with FCB.

Unreasonable Provisions Argument

Next, Dr. Ehrlich unsuccessfully contended that the agreement contained unreasonable provisions and therefore the court was not obligated or permitted to order its enforcement.  Discerning the reasonableness of a non-compete agreement required the court to balance the competing needs of the parties as well as the needs of the public.

Furthermore, the challenging party must show that the provisions are unreasonable in scope.  First, the court established that FCB did in fact have a legitimate business interest that necessitated protection.  The company was entitled to protect potential new patients within a reasonably limited market area.  FCB was only concerned with future patients and did not seek to prevent Dr. Ehrlich from providing follow-up services to current or past patients.

Enforcing the Non-Compete Agreement

Next, the court addressed and cited a variety of case law that showed Connecticut courts’ history of enforcing non-compete agreements when they protect against “something other than mere competition”, including the use of customer lists, impaired of purchased good will, confidential data/trade secrets, use of information concerning potential clients in a limited area, or some other advantage the former employee acquired while working for the plaintiff company.  The court found that Dr. Ehrlich had greatly benefitted from his association with FCB and that his continued actions would negatively affect the reputation and business operations of his former employer.

Lastly, the court took time to address the differences between non-compete agreements for an employer-employee relationship and those for partnerships.  It held that since there was not unequal bargaining power or impaired ability to earn a living, the provisions were not unreasonable in scope.

The court noted that Dr. Ehrlich’s offices in Trumbull and Waterford did not violate the agreement and there were numerous hospitals located outside the prohibited area where he could find employment as a board certified surgeon specializing in bariatrics.  He had actually received encouragement from several doctors to apply for privileges at permissible hospitals, including the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven.

In light of Dr. Ehrlich violating a legally binding non-compete agreement that protected a legitimate business interest, the court ordered the enforcement of the restrictive covenant.

The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment and corporate law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County.  If you have any questions relating to your non-compete agreement or would like to discuss any element of your employment agreement, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at

Five Things You Need to Know About Connecticut Separation Agreements

As a result of the state of the economy, in general, and in Fairfield County, in particular, we in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have seen a spate of Separation Agreements brought to us by recently terminated employees.  Our experienced employment-law attorneys review and critique these Agreements, and often advocate on behalf of our clients to enhance a separation package.

Here are five things you need to know about Separation Agreements:

  1. They are here and more may be on the way. 

    Companies are scrutinizing their bottom lines to try to increase profits, decrease expenses, and improve share value or owner’s equity.  If sales can’t be increased or cost-of-goods-sold decreased, one alternative is to cut personnel.  Often senior (and more highly paid) employees are let go in favor of younger (i.e., “cheaper”) employees, thereby also raising the specter of an age discrimination claim (a topic deserving of its own post).

  2. They are complex. 

    For an employee over the age of 40, a federal statute known as the “Older Workers Benefit Protection Act” requires that your Separation Agreement contain certain provisions, including a comprehensive release of all claims that you might have against your employer.  The statute also gives you specific time periods to review the Agreement prior to signing, and even to rescind your approval after you have signed.  It is not uncommon to have Separation Agreements exceed 10 pages in length.  All of the language is important.

  3. They are a minefield. 

    Separation Agreements frequently contain “restrictive covenants,” usually in the form of confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-competition provisions.  These can have a profound effect on your ability to relocate to another position and have to be carefully reviewed and analyzed to avoid potentially devastating long-term consequences after the Agreement has been signed and the revocation period has expired.

  4. They are not “carved in stone.”

    Although many companies ascribe to a “one size fits all” and a “take it or leave it” policy with regard to Separation Agreements, such is not necessarily the case.  Often, Maya Murphy employment attorneys can find an “exposed nerve” and leverage that point to obtain for a client more severance pay, longer health benefits, or some other perquisite to ease the client’s transition into a new job with a new employer.  Every case is factually (and perhaps legally) different and you should not assume that your severance package should be determined by those that have gone before you.

  5. You need an advocate.

    You need an experienced attorney to elevate discussion of your Separation Agreement above the HR level.  HR directors have limited discretion and are tasked with keeping severance benefits to an absolute minimum.  Maya Murphy’s goal is to generate a dialogue with more senior management to drive home the point that a particular client under certain circumstances is equitably entitled to greater benefits than initially offered.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been presented with a Separation Agreement, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney in our Westport, Connecticut office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at

Employer Not Liable for Doing “Stupid” or Even “Wicked” Things

Case Background

Employment discrimination laws protect employees from discrimination.  They do not protect against “ordinary workplace experiences” that offend one’s sensibilities or result in hurt feelings.  A Connecticut woman found that out the hard way when a Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment against her.  There was no dispute as to any material fact and the employer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Thus, there was no need for a trial on the merits.

The employee in question was fired from her “at will” position as Public Relations Coordinator for a large corporation because of her volatile workplace behavior spanning three years.  She claimed that she was fired because of her age, and that she had suffered intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result.

Establishing a “But For” Cause

Under the applicable law, the employee must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination.  If she does, the burden then shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action.  Assuming such a reason, the employee may then prevail if she can show that the employer’s action was in fact the result of discrimination, i.e., that the stated reason is “pretextual.”

The employee must further prove that age was a “but for” cause for the challenged action and not merely a contributing or motivating factor.  In this case, the employee was unable to show that her age was the sole, i.e., “but for” cause of her termination.


In fairness to the employer, the employee’s insubordination was evident from the record.  On one occasion, the employee asked her manger if she had “stopped taking her medication.”  Nor did some favorable evaluations raise a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext.  The court concluded that isolated positive feedback was entirely consistent with the explanation for her termination: sporadic inappropriate behavior over the course of several years.  A reasonable jury would have no reason to doubt the employer’s explanation for the employee’s discharge.

The employee also complained about the “tone” that was used with her and that she was “distraught” about negative comments she received.  This formed the basis for her claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The court had no trouble dismissing this claim, as well.  “These ordinary workplace experiences clearly do not rise to the level of being ‘so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society.’”

It was in this context that the court made the observation that employers are not liable for doing stupid or even wicked things in the absence of a sufficient connection between the employee’s age and termination of her employment.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our Westport office at 203-221-3100.

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990

Being laid off from a job is enough of a confusing and disheartening experience.  Adding to the complexity of severance packages and Separation Agreements is the potential for an age discrimination claim, a prospect that companies go to great lengths to prevent.  It is not infrequent for companies to lay off senior workers in favor of younger employees who will cost less to the company. In doing so, companies may open themselves up to an age discrimination claim.

If you believe that you have been laid off due to your age, it is vital to explore your options before signing the Agreement, as a signature often means a release of all potential claims against your employer. The employment attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. have experience in these types of claims and can take the lead in reviewing and negotiating a Separation Agreement.

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act

In response to a 1989 landmark Supreme Court decision, Congress passed the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (“OWBPA”), requiring that a Separation Agreement contain certain provisions and amending the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees 40 years of age or older, to include employee benefits. Specifically, the statute gives a terminated employee a time period in which to review the Agreement before signing and the opportunity to rescind approval of the Agreement subsequent to signing.  It ensures that no employee is pressured into signing legal waivers of their rights under the ADEA.

Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) website ( as well as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s site ( provide valuable information and resources on the topic of age, and other types, of discrimination.

In addition, the attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive employment experience and are ready to assist with any issues relating to employment contracts, severance packages, and potential discrimination claims.  Should you have any questions, please contact the Maya Murphy office located in Westport at 203-221-3100.

For Want of a Comma, Wal-Mart Can Fire Medical Marijuana User

Case Background

Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan.  When Joseph Casias was 17, he was diagnosed with sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.  When Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008, Casias’ oncologist recommended he use marijuana for relief of pain and side effects of other pain medications.  Casias used marijuana while employed at a Wal-Mart in Battle Creek, Michigan, although he made sure never to be under its influence while at work.

When Casias was injured on the job, company policy required that he be administered a drug test.  He tested positive for marijuana and was fired a week later.  Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act states that “a qualifying patient . . . shall not be subject to arrest or . . . disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau . . . .”  Casias sued Wal-Mart for wrongful discharge and violation of the Act, claiming that the law proscribes “disciplinary action [against a medical marijuana patient] by a business.”

The Court’s Decision

A federal District Court and Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the statute, as written, refers to three types of licensing boards or bureaus—business, occupational, and professional.  The appellate court reasoned that the statute precluded disciplinary action by only the specified licensing boards, and not by a private business.  Since the law offered Casias no protection from termination, the court saw no reason to overturn Wal-Mart’s firing of Casias notwithstanding his immunity from criminal prosecution related to possession or use of marijuana.

This is a case of the court’s holding that a legislature meant what it said, irrespective of what it might have meant to say.  More careful drafting or punctuation of the Michigan Act might have saved Casias’ job.  Perhaps the Michigan legislature will amend its Medical Marijuana Act to state more clearly that an employee who is a legally permitted user may not be disciplined by an employer for its use.  Until then, casually drafted statutes will remain a trap for the unwary.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of workplace-related claims and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield and resolving such issues.  (203) 221-3100.

Three-Year Restriction Found Unreasonable in CPA Non-Compete Agreement

Haims, Buzzeo & Co. v. Wikstrom, 2003 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2539
Case Background

Ms. Nancy Wikstrom owned a certified public accounting firm, Wikstrom & Company, which she sold to Haims, Buzzeo & Co. (HBC) on January 1, 2001.  The purchase agreement outlined the obligations of the respective parties and contained a non-compete covenant.  Ms. Wikstrom was to stay on as an employee of HBC, continuing to work as a certified public accountant (CPA) and she agreed to bring her clients’ business to the firm.

The non-compete agreement prohibited her, for a period of three years following termination, from soliciting clients and engaging in competing business activities within the city of Stamford, Connecticut.  In exchange for these covenants, Ms. Wikstrom was to receive employment, $30,000 monthly payments to begin on January 1, 2010, and compensation for the sale of her former company’s good will and stock.

The merger of the two accounting firms did not go very well and Ms. Wikstrom left HBC in March 2002 due to dramatic differences in business personality and management style.  She proceeded to start her own accounting firm, the Wikstrom Group, located in Stamford that provided the same accounting services as HBC.  HBC interpreted these actions as clear violations of the non-compete agreement and sued Ms. Wikstrom in Connecticut state court for breach of the restrictive covenant.

The company specifically claimed that she had “actively and purposefully tried to induce her former clients to come with her to the new accounting practice she created, and otherwise attempted to hinder and damage the plaintiffs in their practice”.  Ms. Wikstrom however claimed that the agreement was unenforceable and that she did not violate any legally binding clauses contained in the purchase and employment agreements.

The Court’s Decision

The court ultimately denied HBC’s request for an injunction preventing further violations of the non-compete agreement and concluded that the agreement was in fact unenforceable.  It reached this decision based on several factors: 1) HBS had failed to demonstrate it was likely to succeed on the merits of the case and 2) the company failed to prove that it had incurred irreparable harm because of Ms. Wikstrom’s actions.  After examining the facts of the case and the provisions of the non-compete agreement, the court held that injunctive relief was inappropriate and HBC was not entitled to an injunction restraining Ms. Wikstrom’s business actions.

Reasonability and Enforceability of the Restrictions

The company was not able to meet the burden of proof required to demonstrate to the court that it was likely to succeed on the merits of the case.  Most notably, the court addressed the reasonability and enforceability of the restrictions contained in the restrictive covenant.  The geographical limitation was reasonable in scope but this was not true for the three-year time restriction.

This, according to the court, was unreasonable because Ms. Wikstrom had been practicing as a CPA for over thirty years, had many long-standing loyal clients, and needed income from her chosen profession to sustain herself.  The three-year period was too long, in the opinion of the court, and unnecessarily restricted her business actions and ability to pursue her occupation.

Furthermore, HBC did not demonstrate that it had incurred irreparable harm or that it was likely to do so in the future.  The only clients that left HBC were those that were clients of Wikstrom & Company prior to the merger of the two accounting firms.  The court noted that those clients would actually be harmed if an injunction was granted and held that its denial was the only way to maintain the status quo between the parties.

By denying the request for an injunction, the court permitted HBC and Ms. Wikstrom’s new company to carry on their business activities as they had been doing the previous eighteen months (since Ms. Wikstrom voluntarily terminated her employment with HBC).

The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment and corporate law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County.  If you have any questions relating to your non-compete agreement or would like to discuss any element of your employment agreement, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at

When an Employee Refuses to Sign a Restrictive Covenant

Restrictive Covenants

The concept behind restrictive covenants is simple – employees agree that for a reasonable period of time following the termination of employment with their employer, they will refrain from competing with that employer.  So long as the temporal and geographic restrictions are reasonable and so long as the restriction is not harmful to the employer or against public policy, restrictive covenants are generally enforceable.  But what happens when an employee refuses to sign a restrictive covenant? Can an employee be fired for failing to do so?

Courts, including Connecticut, are split as to this particular issue. One position taken by courts is that because the essence of at-will employment is the ability of an employer to fire an employee at any time, for any reason, an employer has the right to terminate an employee for refusal to sign a non-compete.  Conversely, some jurisdictions have held that employees who are terminated for refusing to sign a non-compete may maintain a wrongful termination cause of action against their employers.

The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment and corporate law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County.  If you have any questions relating to your non-compete agreement or would like to discuss any element of your employment agreement, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at

Only Connecticut Employees Count Toward CFMLA Threshold

What is the CFMLA?

The Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA) requires employers who employ 75 or more employees to provide eligible employees with 16 weeks of leave during any 24-month period for a variety of reasons, most concerning a serious health condition of a family member.  The Connecticut Supreme Court has recently held that Connecticut employers are not subject to the CFMLA unless they employ at least 75 employees within the state.  In this day and age of “virtual workplaces,” the decision of the Court offers certainty to employers but may deprive employees working remotely of CFMLA coverage.

Valez v. Commissioner of Labor

In Valez v. Commissioner of Labor, Nos. SC 18683-84 (Sept. 25, 2012), the plaintiff worked as a full-time office manager at a Hartford apartment complex.  Her actual employer had over 1000 employees nationwide, but fewer than 75 within the State of Connecticut.  The plaintiff requested and received 12 weeks of leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act but when she was unable to return to her job due to medical restrictions, she was terminated.

A complaint to the Connecticut Department of Labor alleging violation of the CFMLA was unavailing as the hearing officer determined that the employer had fewer than 75 employees in Connecticut and was therefore exempt from the statute.  An appeal to the Superior Court was successful, as the Judge ruled that the CFMLA applied to employers that employ 75+ employees irrespective of their geographic location.

On appeal, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed, holding that the CFMLA applies only to employers with 75+ employees physically within the State.  The Supreme Court felt that the lower court had failed to demonstrate appropriate deference to the Connecticut Labor Commissioner’s interpretation of the statutory term “employer” and his interpretation of who constitutes an “employee” for purposes of the CFMLA.

The Valez decision introduces a degree of certainty for employers with fewer than 75 employees in Connecticut.  Before, some national employers were following CFMLA even though they were exempt from the federal FMLA as a result of having fewer than 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.  Employees, too, can now be sure of their rights as it is settled that only employees within the state of Connecticut will count toward applicability of the CFMLA.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues.  203-221-3100.

Bullying in the Workplace—the Next Litigation Frontier?

Workplace Bullying

The Connecticut General Assembly enacted legislation to address student bullying in the school setting.  Now some states have turned their attention to bullying in the workplace.  The new statutes, if enacted, would create a new cause of action for employment discrimination—bullying.

Since 2003, 21 states have proposed legislation to rein in workplace bullying.  Many states have been working off of a model act (the Healthy Workplace Bill) authored by Suffolk University Law School professor David Yamada.  The bill defines workplace bullying as the “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; work interference—sabotage—which prevents work from getting done.”

Adopting Legislation 

According to a 2010 study, 35% of U.S. workers claim to have been bullied at work.  Absent a statutory cause of action, victims have claimed that employers have breached the terms of an employee handbook that requires employees to act professionally.  Such arguments are a stretch and a bullied employee would be much better served by a clearly stated statutory claim.

Anticipating adoption of the proposed legislation, many companies are incorporating anti-bullying training into in-house sexual harassment and anti-discrimination training.  There is a huge collateral benefit to ridding the workplace of bullies—they are extremely detrimental to employee morale and productivity.  As with other anti-discrimination statutes, an employer can avoid vicarious liability by instituting and enforcing a reasonable bullying prevention and protection policy.  In addition, a successful claimant must show demonstrable harm as a result of workplace bullying or an adverse employment action for reporting such activity.  Hurt feelings are not enough.

Reportedly, New York and Massachusetts are on the verge of passing anti-bullying statutes.  Connecticut has yet to weigh in on the issue.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues.  Please contact our offices at 203-221-3100.