Connecticut Lawyer Carole Topol Orland Gets Sued For Employee Mistreatment


Ultimately, it will be up to the jury to decide whether Broder & Orland violated federal and Connecticut state employment laws. Yet, it’s important to explain the basics of federal and state employment law because they apply to anyone who is employed.

In our view this lawsuit doesn’t look good for the firm, even if the case settles or the allegations are found to not have merit.

Ms. Russell alleges that Broder & Orland, LLC along with Carole Topol Orland, Esq., violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying her for the more than 40 hours each week that she routinely worked. Under the FLSA, employees may be considered exempt from overtime pay or non-exempt. Yet, employers can’t just pick and choose who will be considered exempt and who won’t. It’s also not just decided by who is paid an annual salary. Salaried workers, such as Ms. Russell, can be considered non-exempt.

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If it were only based on salary, Kathleen Russell may have been considered exempt. Yet, under FLSA we also have to look at the type of work that the employee performs. Going back to her complaint, Ms. Russell alleged some key items:

  1. She routinely worked more than 40 hours per week.
  2. She was not allowed to order items for the firm’s kitchen or for office supplies.
  3. She was reprimanded for once spending $100.00 to store files that were scheduled for shredding.
  4. She was expected to respond to emails even during her scheduled time off.

Even without any sort of legal training, it’s plain to see that based on the second and third points Ms. Russell needed to get the firm’s permission to do just about anything. The FLSA does state that some administrative and professional employees can be classified as exempt, but they must have the authority to act with discretion in significant matters. In the complaint and according to FLSA standards, Ms. Russell clearly was not allowed to act with discretion in significant matters. Under the FLSA, when an employee does not have authority to act with a certain amount of discretion, they are considered non-exempt (even if they are salaried) and they are entitled to overtime pay.