Employment Law Attorney in Hartford, Connecticut
Taking workplace safety and the assurance of being treated with dignity and respect should be a given when we head to work. Thankfully, for the majority of employees, this is a reality, but not everyone is as fortunate. Instances of unfair treatment or unsafe conditions can arise, and it is crucial to address these concerns through legal means. State and federal laws exist to protect workers facing such situations. However, navigating these regulations can be complex without the guidance of an experienced employment law attorney.
From my office—James S. Brewer Attorney at Law—I represent people in a wide range of occupations, including police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, office workers, and blue-collar workers for these claims:
Employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, or other protected classes
Sexual harassment by a supervisor or co-worker
Hostile work environment from harassment or bullying
Disability discrimination and failure to accommodate
Whistleblower retaliation for reporting illegal behavior
Wrongful termination and constructive discharge
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violations
First Amendment retaliation
And other retaliation or abuses
I am committed to advocating for employees, working to uphold their rights, and providing the necessary legal support. If you are located in the New Haven, Bridgeport, or Hartford, Connecticut, areas and wish to discuss workplace concerns, reach out today to schedule an appointment.
Wage and Hour Laws
One common issue that employees often raise, leading to potential legal claims, pertains to wage and hour laws. These regulations apply at both the federal and state levels in Connecticut and cover critical aspects such as minimum wage, maximum working hours, and child labor practices.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): The FLSA is a federal law that establishes standards for overtime pay, minimum wage, child labor, and recordkeeping. Currently, the national minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour, but numerous states have enacted their own laws, significantly raising this threshold. For example, beginning in 2024, Connecticut will implement a state minimum wage of $15.69 per hour. The FLSA also stipulates the criteria for overtime pay eligibility, usually set at 40 hours per week. It outlines specific regulations for the employment of individuals aged 14 to 16, differentiating between agricultural and non-agricultural work.
Connecticut Department of Labor: In addition to federal regulations, the state of Connecticut has set its own wage and hour standards. As previously mentioned, these include the new minimum wage rates, but they also mandate employers to compensate employees at a rate of 1.5 times their regular wages for any hours worked beyond 40 hours per week, with only a few exceptions. The state also establishes guidelines for meal and break times.
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The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, commonly known as OSHA, was enacted to ensure the safety and health of all American workers in their workplaces. OSHA accomplishes this through the establishment of safety standards and the provision of resources, training, and education to employers, ensuring their compliance with the law. OSHA's safety standards encompass a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:
Maintaining hazard-free workplaces
Preventing exposure to hazardous chemicals
Controlling the spread of infectious diseases
Providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
In collaboration with OSHA, Connecticut is one of seven states that have implemented their own OSHA-approved State Plan, extending coverage to state and government employees, as federal OSHA regulations do not apply to these workers.
Discrimination and harassment in the workplace continue to be pressing concerns for many employees, often posing challenges to address. Workers may fear retaliation, such as wrongful termination or demotion, if they voice concerns about discrimination. Therefore, it is crucial to work alongside an experienced attorney in such situations.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The federal agency responsible for overseeing discrimination and harassment laws is the EEOC. Connecticut also has its own laws in place to protect workers. The most prominent federal legislation addressing these issues is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, safeguarding individuals within protected classes, including race, color, national origin, sex, and religion, from harassment and discrimination.
However, this national law applies only to companies with more than 15 employees. In response, Connecticut introduced the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), offering broader protections to workplaces within the state, even those with just one employee. Individuals with valid discrimination claims may have the option to pursue an employment lawsuit against their employer.
Anytime an employee reports unsafe working conditions or discrimination, they are protected from retaliation. This safeguard extends to disciplinary actions such as termination or demotion, as well as subtler changes in work assignments.
Both state and federal laws prohibit wrongful termination due to retaliation or discrimination based on protected characteristics. If you believe you have been unjustly terminated from your job, it is advisable to promptly consult with an employment lawyer to discuss your next steps.
Employment Law Attorney in Hartford, Connecticut
If you reside in Hartford, Connecticut, or the surrounding communities and seek legal counsel regarding any of your legal issues, contact me, James S. Brewer, Attorney at Law, today. No matter your situation, you will get professional support.