Publications for Employment Law
An employee handbook is an important tool that employers use to communicate with employees about important workplace issues and can serve as an excellent defense to claims.
It can be hard enough for an employer to understand its obligations under state workers’ compensation laws. But it can be downright overwhelming when the myriad of other state and federal statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, also come into play.
It is well established that the Michigan Worker's Disability Compensation Act (the "Act") provides that the recovery of benefits under the Act shall be the injured employee's exclusive remedy against an employer.
Public pension systems are increasingly underfunded. Data released in 2017 indicates that the median state funding ratio (the percentage of assets that a state has available for future payments to retirees) fell to 71.1 percent in 2016, down from 74.5 percent in 2015.
With summer right around the corner, many Michigan employers are staffing up with interns to help out with the workloads, and also as part of recruiting programs.
The United States Supreme Court gave employers a big win this week by ruling, in a 5-4 vote, that employers can enforce agreements that require employees to arbitrate disputes individually and waive the right to pursue such claims in collective or class actions.
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.
The Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act protects against disability discrimination in the workplace. The Act prohibits, among other things, an employer from discriminating in hiring, recruiting, promoting, discharging, or unfairly impacting the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of a person's disability.
In the not too distant past, employers and employees had a clearer idea of what was, and was not, part of the workplace. In the past two decades, both employers and employees have blurred that distinction through changing technologies and work habits. At the same time, technological leaps have made it increasingly cheap and easy for employers to electronically monitor employee conduct. Employers must consider both the benefits and risks of electronic monitoring, and respect the legal limits on such monitoring.
The list of acronyms in the law is long. For employers, some acronyms are more important than others. And in the context of employment litigation, some are crucial. In this and our next two newsletters, we discuss three state statutes that create the potential for expensive lawsuits against employers: The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; the Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act; and the Whistleblower Protection Act. These statutes are identified by the acronyms ELCRA, PDCRA, and WPA.
Townships have a state constitutional right to "reasonable control" over roads. Townships also have the statutory right to adopt truck route ordinances. What happens if one township’s truck route ordinance effectively pushes commercial traffic into a neighboring township?
Changes in Technology and the Law Require Some Employers to Revise Internet and Social Media Policies.
The Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion which will make it more difficult for employers to defeat whistleblower claims before trial. Debano-Griffin v Lake County and Lake County Board of Commissioners.
The United States Supreme Court is poised to make a decision that may affect how the federal courts treat Michigan employers sued for violations of Title VII, the federal law that prohibits race and gender discrimination and harassment.
In today’s economy, businesses often find it necessary to adjust the labor force within a relatively short period of time to remain competitive. In Michigan, this can be accomplished because the law presumes that all employment relationships are at-will.
Every employer should understand and appreciate the value of having a handbook that is tailored to its operations, as well as having policies that reflect their current circumstances, and current law.
No two employers are exactly the same; neither are two employee handbooks. Every employer should understand and appreciate the value of having a handbook that is tailored to their business, as well as policies that reflect their current circumstances, as well as current law.
You might save on your employment taxes if your business is taxed as an "S Corporation."
Noncompetition agreements typically prohibit an employee or seller of a business to own or work for a competitor of the protected party, and often are of substantial value. However, a Michigan court will only enforce these agreements if they comply with the following four requirements.
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.
Documenting employee discipline is as important from a litigation defense perspective, as is counseling the employee in the first place to try to correct or improve job performance.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) recently signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing that they will share information and coordinate law enforcement to end the practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
What do you do when an employee says he needs leave to care for his "significant other’s kids?"
An I-9 audit can be triggered for a number of reasons, including random samples and reporting by disgruntled employees. Every employer should have a formal internal I-9 Compliance Policy detailing the employer’s exact policies and procedures.
The Michigan Court of Appeals recently came through for employers, confirming that accessing inappropriate websites is misconduct that makes a former employee ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Melissa authored the chapter "Components of Effective Employment Agreements" in Negotiating and Drafting Employment Agreements published by Thomson Reuters.
In the last few years, immigration reforms and increased enforcement have been the topics of extensive debate.
Blogging has become a tool for companies that are marketing, as well as for employees who are bent on revenge.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) took effect for employers on Nov. 21, 2009.
As employers work to evaluate the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on their workers, insurance needs and balance sheet, many are wondering if and when the PPACA will apply to them.
Answer to an intriguing question that involves the intersection of employer rights and medical marijuana patient rights.
The WPA makes it illegal for an employer to discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee reports or is about to report a violation or a suspected violation of a law or regulation to a public body.
In late December, the EEOC issued a news release confirming that it has filed a nationwide suit against Kaplan Higher Education Corporation.
Staub v Proctor Hospital reminds us that job protections for military personnel are not limited to leave issues or re-employment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.
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?
Social media is proliferating in the workplace. Facebook, My Space, Linked In, and Twitter have become commonplace on employees’ cell phones and computers. Blogging has become a tool for marketing, as well as for revenge.
Due to several recent changes in employment law, we highly recommend that all employers update their employee handbooks as soon as possible.
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 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.
On April 26, 2010, our Sixth Circuit issued a decision in the case of Alonso v Huron Valley Ambulance, Incorporated.
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.
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.
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).
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 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
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.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued regulations, as part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003...
In two cases decided this year, the United States Supreme Court determined that two federal statutes provide a basis for retaliation claims by employees against their employers, although the statutes themselves do not on their face prohibit retaliation.
Many employers routinely pay severance in exchange for a release of claims embodied within a separation agreement.
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.
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.
The Sixth Circuit recently decided that Title VII prohibits employers from taking retaliatory action against employees not directly involved in protected activity...