Publications for Labor Relations
Since 2008, when the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the “MMMA”) went into effect, employers in Michigan have been presented with new and nuanced issues related to how the new marijuana law would impact employment-related decisions.
Many people spend more time working at their jobs than they do engaging in any other activity during waking hours. It’s inevitable, therefore, that workers will get hurt on the job.
Sexual harassment is at the top of minds in workplaces across the country. It is up to employers to maintain a safe and secure workplace. This includes stopping sexual harassment from occurring in the first place and taking swift action to mitigate its consequences when it does.
In November 2016, I co-authored an article which discussed technologies available to employers for monitoring employee conduct, as well as some legal limitations on doing so. On the flip-side of that issue, employees may want to use technology, such as audio and video recorders on their cell phones, to record fellow employees, supervisors and events in the workplace.
Claims under the Whistleblowers Protection Act have become increasingly common. This may be because people can make the claim without exhibiting any of the characteristics at issue in other employment statutes: age is irrelevant; a showing of a disability is not necessary; nor are a person's race, sex, gender or religious beliefs relevant.
Changes in Technology and the Law Require Some Employers to Revise Internet and Social Media Policies.
Governor Snyder signed into law right-to-work legislation covering both private and public sector employment in Michigan. Employees will have the right to refrain from paying any portion of assessed dues or an agency fee.
Governor Snyder signed House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116, making Michigan the 24th state to enact "freedom-to-work"/ “right-to-work” laws. House Bill 4003 applies to the public sector and Senate Bill 116 applies to the private sector.
On May 14, 2012, a federal district court ruled that the NLRB failed to assemble a quorum for its final vote on changes in the board's representation case rules, so the changes that went into effect April 30 are invalid and unenforceable.
The appellate court rejected the NLRB’s argument that the rule should take effect during the pendency of the court’s review, noting the NLRB had previously postponed the effective date of the rule because of pending litigation.
Given recent rulemaking activity, most private sector employers will be required to post a new notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Last fall's Department of Labor (DOL) publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking affecting child labor regulations in agriculture grabbed nearly everyone's attention in the agriculture sector. On February 1, 2012, the DOL reacted to the public response by announcing that the DOL will re-propose the portion of its regulation interpreting the "parental exemption" in summer 2012.
The Michigan legislature was active in 2011, passing or amending several laws that will impact public sector labor relations.
The last few years have witnessed significant increases in workforce audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") at all levels. Therefore, while proper I-9 compliance has always been important, it has never been more essential.
In response to political controversy surrounding the proposed new rules, a bill has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 3094) that would set minimum time periods for NLRB representation hearings and a 35-day minimum interval before balloting that are inconsistent with the board’s rulemaking proposal.
On September 2, 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise child labor regulations in agriculture.
The National Labor Relations Board published a controversial final rule requiring that all employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act post a notice detailing employees’ rights under the Act.
Melissa authored the chapter "Components of Effective Employment Agreements" in Negotiating and Drafting Employment Agreements published by Thomson Reuters.
On July 20, 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that changes the arbitration process and should result in more realistic agreements. This legislation amends Act 312 to do the following...
In late December, the EEOC issued a news release confirming that it has filed a nationwide suit against Kaplan Higher Education Corporation.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that a municipal employer did not violate its employees’ legal rights by requiring workers returning from sick leave or restricted duty to submit a doctor’s note disclosing the "nature of the illness" to their immediate supervisors.
A federal judge ruled on February 11, 2011, that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not preclude private employers from terminating employees for use of the drug.
Many municipalities employ drivers to perform safety-sensitive functions. What if one of these drivers arrives at work and appears to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance?
Unions can demonstrate majority status either through voluntary recognition or an election.
Since the issuance of our Fall 2010 Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, the IRS, on October 12, 2011, announced that it will postpone until 2012 the new reporting requirement that employers report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 applies to all public and private employers in the United States, regardless of size.
The U.S.’s “Greatest” Utility Business Visa, Typically Oversubscribed and the Subject of Scarcity, Remains Available
For employers interested in hiring a foreign worker for a "specialty occupation", an H-1B Employment Visa is an option with a number of very attractive features:
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court that governs Michigan, recently addressed the ability to transfer a pregnant employee to a light duty position without the transfer constituting an adverse employment action.
The USERRA applies to all public and private employers in the United States. So it applies to counties, cities, townships, and villages.
Public employee unions have existed in Michigan since the 1930s, but beginning in 1947, were prohibited from striking upon passage of the Hutchinson Act, which imposed serious penalties on strikers.
Michigan’s smoking ban became effective on May 1, 2010...this new law will impact municipalities directly.
A very small section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) makes some major changes in Form W-2 reporting which will impact employers in the near future.
Section 1558 of PPACA amends the Fair Labor Standards Act by prohibiting discrimination against an employee who...
The recently enacted healthcare reform act signed into law by President Obama on March 23 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide "reasonable" breaks for nursing mothers to express milk for their infants for one year from the child’s birth.
Do you need a written Handbook policy about GINA? How does GINA affect your wellness program?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended ("PPACA") made several changes to cafeteria plans. Some of the most significant changes are summarized below.
If you were wondering whether the COBRA subsidy obligation expired on March 31, 2010, Congress has rather belatedly decided that it hasn't.
Effective May 1, 2010, smoking will be banned in all public places, including places of employment.
The recently enacted Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act may benefit your business with tax savings.
Federal law requires that participant contributions to a 401(k) plan be promptly deposited into a qualified trust that is established to hold qualified plan assets.
On February 17, 2010, most of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act ("HITECH") became binding on the health care industry.
On January 29, 2010, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Health and Human Services jointly issued interim final regulations for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act ("MHPAEA").
Effective May 1, 2010, smoking will be banned in all public places, including places of employment.
For the first time in Michigan, the Court addressed whether e-mails sent by public employees on the public body’s e-mail systems were automatically considered "public records" under the FOIA.
Employers who wish to review social media or employees’ personal web sites should have a policy in place informing employees that the company has a right to monitor employee use of the systems.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be great ways to promote a public body’s activities, inform about services offered, connect with the community and share information.
The most costly mistakes union employers make are all avoidable.
On January 21, 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission ("FEC") reinforced the free speech rights of corporations and labor unions to participate in the political process through independent communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of clearly identified candidates.
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (DOD) extends the COBRA subsidy previously created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Effective for plan years beginning on or after October 9, 2009, Michelle’s Law protects certain dependent children whose eligibility for coverage under a group health plan is based on the child’s full-time student status.
For the second time in the last year, Congress has expanded the scope of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Most Michigan employers pay a 6.2% Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages during a calendar year.
As the economy remains volatile and technology advances often faster than governing law or management can respond, employers should be aware of variables that affect the enforceability of employee non-compete agreements.
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was passed into law in the fall of 2008, with administrative rules issued April 4, 2009.
E-Verify is a free Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees, regardless of citizenship.
Employees may be denied unemployment benefits between seasons if the Employer is designated a "seasonal employer" under the law.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau of the Department of Homeland Security announced, on July 1, 2009, an initiative to step up audits of employers’ Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and related employment records
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (“PPA”) and the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (“HEART Act”) made significant changes to the rules governing qualified retirement plans.
More than 250 new investigators are set to be hired in Michigan’s Department of Labor (DOL) Wage & Hour Division.
“Card Check” (the “Employee Free Choice Act”) would eliminate an employee’s private election of union representation and replace it with automatic unionization if more than 50% of the employee’s election cards support unionization.
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus legislation) has offered Michigan $138.9 million dollars to be used to expand unemployment compensation.
The Sixth Circuit’s decision in Barrett, Melton, Nickens v Whirlpool Corp, Case No. 08-5307 focused on hostile work environment and race discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
It may come as a surprise that certain civil rights laws, like Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, apply to employers with only one (1) employee.
On January 30, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a series of Executive Orders that he contends should “level the playing field” for labor unions in their struggles with management.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule with the stated goal of ensuring that federally funded health care providers may safely decline to participate in certain health services because of their religious, moral, ethical, or other beliefs.
President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law on January 29, 2009.
Employees whose employment was involuntarily terminated on or after September 1, 2008, and who failed to elect COBRA following the termination, must be given a second chance to elect COBRA coverage.
Many Union contracts have a “traveling contractor’s” clause that requires the signatory contractor to follow whatever “sister” local Union contract exists where the job is located.
At long last, the United States Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division has issued its final rule under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
At long last, the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division has issued the Final Rule under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued regulations, as part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003...
First introduced in March 2007, the Employee Free Choice Act aims to drastically change to the National Labor Relations Act...
In a very significant March 31, 2008 opinion, a divided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Thompson v North American Stainless, LP, expanded the class of persons protected from retaliation under Title VII.
On May 21, 2008 President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), a law that prohibits discrimination by employers or insurers based on an individual’s genetic information.
On July 1, 2008, the last of the three minimum wage increases that began back in October 2006 will go into effect.
The Michigan Court of Appeals issued a published opinion on May 22, 2008, which held in a case of first impression that the "ministerial exception" exists in Michigan, and is a bar to inquiry into a religious institution’s motivation for a contested employment decision.
Current U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations govern the deadline by which amounts withheld from a participant’s wages must be deposited into a qualified plan.