Siegel, O’Connor, O’Donnell & Beck, P.C. is a Connecticut-based law firm with a national reputation in the practice specialty of labor and employment law. Our Hartford employment attorneys are dedicated exclusively to the representation of employers in the complex dynamic of labor and employment law matters in the workplace.
We have counseled private and public sector management clients on labor and employment issues for 50 years. Because of our extensive involvement in the representation of clients in labor and employment law, our Hartford employment lawyers are able to provide clients with unmatched experience, focus, and depth that results in excellent and cost-effective legal service, strategy, and solutions.
CLIENT ALERT: High Court says ADEA Applies to Public Sector Employers
regardless of their Size.
On November 6, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (the “ADEA”) applies to state and local governments, regardless of their size.
The Court’s ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by two Arizona firemen who claim the Lemmon Fire District, a political subdivision in Arizona, terminated their employment in violation of the ADEA. In its defense, the Fire District responded that it was too small to qualify as an “employer” under the ADEA. The definition relied upon by the Fire District provides: “the term ‘employer’ means a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has twenty or more employees….The term also means (1) any agent of such a person, and (2) a State or Political subdivision of a State….” 29 U.S.C. §630(b).
Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s holding, the definitional provisions of “employer” under the ADEA combine to establish separate categories. The definition now covers States or political subdivisions without the attendant numerosity limitation of 20 or more employees. As such, public sector employers with 20 or less employees must now be conscious of their obligations under the ADEA.
CLIENT ALERT: Data Reveals an Upsurge in Sexual Harassment Related Litigation.
On October 4, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its preliminary sexual harassment data for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Unsurprisingly, the data reveals an upsurge in sexual harassment related litigation. This trend is strongly indicative of the growing public outcry over the numerous and heavily publicized allegations of sexual misconduct in politics and the media. For employers the 2018 figures, and the trend they represent, should be cause for concern.
From FY 2017 to FY 2018 the number of charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12 percent. During this same period, the number of lawsuits commenced by the EEOC regarding allegations of sexual harassment increased by 50 percent. As a result of these lawsuits, the EEOC recovered $47.5 million in damages in FY 2017. In FY 2018 this number increased to $70 million.
The EEOC has not expressed concern in response to these statistics. Rather, the EEOC views the trend positively and is encouraging further litigation and administrative enforcement. This sentiment was expressed by Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic who commented, “I am so proud of the EEOC staff who stepped up to the heightened demand of the #MeToo movement to make clear that workplace harassment is not only unlawful, it is simply not acceptable[.]” Reinforcing the EEOC’s position that it can and should do more to facilitate an increase in sexual harassment litigation, Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum stated, “[w]e are at a transformative moment in our history and the EEOC will be part of making that history.”
As high-profile cases of sexual harassment continue to be publicized with ever increasing frequency, it is unlikely that public concern and scrutiny on this topic will diminish. With this in mind, the litigation increases revealed in the EEOC’s 2018 data are likely to continue. As such, it is now more important than ever to provide comprehensive sexual harassment education and training to employees to protect your business.
Six Reasons to Choose US
Competitive Fee Structure
Siegel O’Connor is consistently recognized as a leader in labor law, and our firm is trusted by clients to stay one step ahead in the ever-changing landscape of labor relations. Our labor law attorneys have significant experience developing comprehensive labor relations programs for clients in a broad swath of industries. We provide strategic advocacy before the National Labor Relations Board and federal and state courts as well as representation in grievance arbitration and collective bargaining negotiations. Our attorneys possess a breadth of experience handling matters related to union organization efforts, strikes, work stoppages, sexual harassment, and injunctions. We strive to keep our clients’ businesses running smoothly throughout any type of union activity.
We defend employers in complex, high-stakes litigation involving the full range of employment law issues. Our attorneys consistently obtain favorable results through negotiated settlement, arbitration, and at trial. Siegel O’Connor routinely represents clients in all matter of employment litigation including discrimination and civil rights claims, FMLA cases, employment contract disputes, wrongful termination cases, sexual harassment claims, and class action lawsuits. We also provide exceptional litigation avoidance strategies and counseling in best practices with regard to personnel policies, employee handbooks, employee hiring and termination, and disciplinary matters. From pre-suit negotiations to trial, our attorneys provide skilled and aggressive advocacy in every arena as well as at the appellate level.
Our attorneys are among Connecticut’s top education lawyers and regularly represent clients in all aspects of school law including contract and collective bargaining negotiations, special education issues, student discipline matters, discrimination claims, and employment litigation. We are well-versed in the distinct legal issues faced by schools, school districts, and school boards. Our attorneys have been involved in several precedent-setting cases before the Connecticut Supreme Court and Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Our comprehensive knowledge of the laws affecting the education system make Siegel O’Connor the go-to law firm for public educators.
Siegel O’Connor specializes in the gamut of wage and hour and employee compensation issues, assisting our employer clients with advice, auditing, and advocacy. Our Hartford sexual harassment attorneys have the legal knowledge and experience to protect our clients from employee compensation-related lawsuits through sound compliance strategies and internal wage and hour audits. The seasoned litigation attorneys at Siegel O’Connor are also prepared to aggressively defend clients in all types of wage and hour litigation, including minimum wage, overtime, tip credit, child labor, and recordkeeping lawsuits.