Tag Archives: Michigan employment attorney

Detroit Casino Sued for Violating Americans with Disabilities Act

Detroit’s Greektown casino was sued on October 3, 2016, by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying a reasonable accommodation to and then firing an employee because of his disability. The former employee, Michael Lepine, was a pit manager for Greektown Casino. The lawsuit … Continue Reading

Corporate Religious Beliefs – A New Defense in Employment Discrimination Claims?

The tension between employment discrimination and religious freedom recently played out in a Michigan federal district court case. In that case, EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, the employer’s religious freedom won out over the rights of a transgender employee. Specifically, the judge ruled that a metro Detroit funeral home did not discriminate … Continue Reading

Religious Discrimination Guidance Issued by the EEOC

Employers should be aware of the recent guidance on federal protections for religious discrimination issued as a result of the interagency effort between the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC). Specifically, the EEOC released on 7/22/2016 its religious discrimination guidance, which focuses on younger employees and explaining how the laws protect … Continue Reading

NLRB Makes Gambling with Your Company’s Employee Handbook a Risky Bet

Employers are once again put on notice that missteps in drafting employee handbooks and other HR policies will be targeted as unfair labor practices where they come within an area code of compromising employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This time, a California casino was found to have interfered with workers’ labor … Continue Reading

Emails Become an Expensive Sideshow in Employment Discrimination Lawsuits

A recent employment discrimination lawsuit underscores the importance employers must place on preserving and producing electronic evidence. As explained below, the employer lost an opportunity to avoid significant costs associated with searching and recovering emails. Specifically, in Wagoner v. Lewis Gale Med. (7/13/16), the plaintiff sued his former employer Lewis Gale Medical Center LLC for … Continue Reading

What is Your Company’s Mindset in Conducting Employee Investigations?

I recently watched an excellent TED Talk by Julia Galef, that should be a “must read” for every HR professional who is tasked with the responsibility of conducting employee investigations. As explained below, applying the points made by Ms. Galef can improve your company’s response to allegations of discrimination or workplace misconduct, as well as … Continue Reading

New Guidance for Employers on When Leave is an ADA Accommodation

In non-North Carolina bathroom news, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued this past week a resource document concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More specifically, this document addresses the use of employer-provided leave as an accommodation under the ADA. The intent of the EEOC’s resource document is to provide general information to employers and employees … Continue Reading

Can an Employer’s Religious Belief Defeat a Discriminatory Firing?

Can an employer’s religious beliefs defeat an otherwise discriminatory termination? Employers in Michigan may soon have much-needed guidance on this issue based on an employment discrimination case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Federal District Court in Michigan. Specifically, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. … Continue Reading

NLRB Agenda Continues to Focus on Non-Union Employee Rights

A recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board provides employers with a reason to carefully evaluate disciplining employees who make negative comments about their company’s products. Specifically, on 3/25/2016, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed an NLRB decision that a Jimmy John’s franchisee violated the employee rights of six employees when it fired them. The illegal terminations arose … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Fact Sheet to Help Small Businesses Comply with Federal Employment Laws

To help small businesses comply with their employment law obligations, the Small Business Task Force, established by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), recently issued a new simplified, one-page fact sheet. The fact sheet is focused on assisting small business owners to understand their responsibilities under federal anti-discrimination employment laws. The EEOC’s fact sheet, “Preventing … Continue Reading

Did Meeting the FLSA Administrative Exemption Get Easier?

Michigan employers recently received a favorable Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) ruling. This decision also provides guidance when it comes to evaluating whether particular categories of employees may be administratively exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. Procedural Background Leading up to the FLSA Ruling The decision arose out of the case Lutz v. Huntington Bancshares, Inc., … Continue Reading

Michigan Supreme Court Rejects Expansion of Whistleblower Protection of Employees

Remember the movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise? The premise of that movie was that in the future a special police task force (the “pre-crime division”) could identify wrongdoers who would go on to commit crimes and charge them before those unlawful acts actually occurred. A similar science fiction plot recently made its way to … Continue Reading

Job Applicant’s Lawsuit under Fair Credit Reporting Act Barred by Statute of Limitations

Employers in Michigan and surrounding states conducting background reports on job applicants received a favorable decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals when it comes to limiting liability for claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The decision was issued on February 18, 2016, in the case Rocheleau v. Elder Living Constr., LLC … Continue Reading

Religious Accommodations in the Workplace and Chinese New Year

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival. Traditionally and especially in China, this celebration last 15 days. This festival is also a celebration that involves both cultural and religious elements. For this reason, it is an excellent backdrop for discussing an employer’s obligations on accommodating religious … Continue Reading

“Reasonable Accommodations” and “Undue Hardship” Defenses – It Comes Down to Money

A recent case involving the Americans with Disabilities Act offers employers an opportunity to consider two frequent issues under this statute: What is a reasonable accommodation and what must an employer show to establish an “undue hardship” defense to providing such an accommodation. The case, Searls v. Johns Hopkins Hosp. (1-21-16), resulted in the U.S. … Continue Reading

Key to Successfully Assessing ADA Accommodations Starts with Individualized Inquiry

An area under the Americans with Disabilities Act that can be problematic for employers and employees alike concerns conducting the individualized inquiry that is required to determine if an employee’s disability or another condition disqualifies the employee from a particular position. This issue recently played out in a federal district court case of (Siewertsen v Worthington … Continue Reading

The Price Tag for Settling Sex Discrimination Claims

A long-running sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) came to an end on November 25, 2015, when a Michigan federal district court approved a consent decree. Under that decree, Cintas Corporation agreed to pay $1.5 million in addition to a numerous other requirements for years to come. A copy of the … Continue Reading

Employer’s Investigation of Misconduct Called Into Question Allowing FMLA Claims to Go to Trial

An employer’s defense to a lawsuit brought under the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) was derailed after a judge agreed there was enough evidence for a jury to find that the employer investigated an employee’s work performance to find a “legitimate” reason to fire him after that employee requested leave. The case, Lankford v. … Continue Reading

Does Ruling in Favor of Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy Claim Have Broader Implications for Employers

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled for a Saginaw nurse who filed a wrongful discharge claim alleging he was fired in violation of public policy. As we previously noted, this case raised a question of whether Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act was the former employee’s exclusive remedy. In sum, Mr. Landin was terminated from his job at … Continue Reading

A $1.2 Million Verdict Depends Upon Balancing Michigan’s Whistleblower Protection Act against Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy

On November 4, 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court heard oral argument in a wrongful discharge in violation of public policy claim under Michigan law.  The central issue to be decided is whether that claim could be asserted or – as the employer contends – was the discharged employee limited exclusively to bringing a claim under … Continue Reading

Identifying Your Company’s Next HR Challenge: Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Earlier this year we wrote about the EEOC’s decision that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, which is made unlawful under Title VII. See Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Unlawful under Federal Law … For Now? On 10/29/2015, this issue was before a district court judge who agreed with the agency’s opinion, but … Continue Reading

Rethinking Employee Performance Reviews

Does your company rely on performance reviews for evaluating and managing employees? Probably; performance reviews are a staple for human resource professionals when it comes to evaluating employee performance. Neuroscience, however, is calling into question the value of such reviews. The Science Undermining the Value of Performance Reviews Specifically, in “Risks of Reviews,” (article by … Continue Reading
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