Tag Archives: Michigan employment law

Revisiting Your Whistleblower Protection Compliance Game Plan

On February 3, 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling involving Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (WPA). The ruling requires employers to carefully evaluate any changes made to an employee’s position, job duties, and working conditions after that employee raises concerns that may be protected activity under the WPA. Otherwise, an employer may be setting … Continue Reading

Hiring the No. 2 Guy on al-Qaeda’s Hit List: An Uber-Example of Limitations in Employee Background Checks

If you recently used Uber in Florida, did you check to see if your driver was Terry Jones? If Mr. Jones’ name or his significance is not immediately apparent to you, don’t worry, Uber apparently had no clue either. The Washington Post reported (by Faiz Siddiqui) that Uber hired Terry Jones. He is the (in)famous preacher … Continue Reading

What the Trump Transition Teaches About Social Media Legal Issues Facing Companies

Companies focus on maximizing social media strategies to promote the business. This week’s transition between the Obama and Trump administration highlighted numerous social media issues that employers need to pay close attention to concerning business and employee social media issues. Social Media Use – Two Presidential Approaches President Barack Obama was the first President to use … Continue Reading

Pitfalls in Contracting with Employee Staffing Companies

Business owners are increasingly considering the use of outside vendors to meet workforce needs. This is especially true for temporary employees or flexible staffing solutions. But companies must carefully review any contractual terms apply to such workforce situations. Employee Leasing Companies We recently represented a company involved in a lawsuit against a staffing company called … Continue Reading

Labor Department Seeks Information From Employers and Employees About FMLA

On October 28, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) gave notice that it is seeking comments from employers and employees about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The notice is available here Federal Register. The comments will be used to develop and administer two surveys in 2017 and 2018. According to the DOL, these … Continue Reading

Addressing Legal Issues in the Hiring Process and Your Job Search

According to the US Labor Department, employers added 156,000 jobs last month. Additionally, the participation rate increased to 62.9%. And the average hourly earnings moved 0.2 percentage points. These figures indicate a steadily increasing U.S. economy. But the Labor Department also found that the unemployment rate last month increased from 4.9% to 5%. A rising unemployment … Continue Reading

Honesty is an Employer’s Best Policy – Honest Defense Rule in Employment Discrimination

A recent court decision shows that the “honest belief” rule continues to be a potent defense for employers responding to employment discrimination claims. And conversely, it continues to be a frustrating hurdle for employees to overcome in proving unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, the honest belief of a Wal-Mart manager was found to protect … Continue Reading

Employers Have New Guidance for Avoiding Retaliation Claims

On August 25, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation. As such, the newly published guidance should be a “must read” for HR professionals and companies (right, just want you needed going into the Labor Day Weekend). Next, HR should be prepared to follow up with a meaningful assessment … Continue Reading

Workplace Recommendations for Responding to the Zika Virus

The number of Zika cases being reported in the United States and its territories continues to rise. Such cases were recently reported in Michigan (Ingham County and Monroe County).  For these reasons, it is prudent for Michigan businesses to understand their obligations and precautions that may be taken to limit Zika related risks in the workplace. … Continue Reading

NLRB Once Again Wades Into the Lawfulness of Employer’s Workplace Policies

Once again a company’s workplace policies were found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This time on July 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit endorsed the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) view that an employer violates the NLRA by maintaining workplace policies that employees may reasonably … 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

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

Improperly Investigating Employee Misconduct Could Land You in Court

Investigating employee misconduct is, unfortunately, a common occurrence companies and their HR professionals experience. But if the investigation is not properly handled, it could expose the employer to liability, including being sued for defamation. Consider for example a recent lawsuit in which an employee sued her employer and its supervisors because of the manner in … Continue Reading

Should Employers Reconsider Using Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Employment Agreements?

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an editorial titled, “Why the Trial Bar and Its Friends Detest Arbitration” by James R. Copland. Mr. Copland’s editorial highlighted some high-profile lawsuits to conclude that the court system often fails companies. Business owners frequently share the same belief and assume their businesses will fare better in arbitration rather … 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

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

Employer Violated Employee Rights Over Facebook Firing

An employer illegally fired two employees for criticizing the company on Facebook. This decision comes from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed a National Labor Relations Board decision (NLRB). Three D, LLC v NLRB (10-21-2015). This decision also highlights the need to meaningfully evaluate conduct giving rise to employee discipline, … Continue Reading

Does Your Company’s Employment Agreements Limit Employment Claims?

Employers often overlook the opportunity to limit liability against their business when it comes to employment agreements. And one of the most common ways in which a business can limit its liability is through a contractual limitations period. A recent Michigan Court of Appeals highlights this point. Specifically, a shortened limitation period in an employer’s … Continue Reading

Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Michigan employers dodged a bullet (sort of) on when it comes to whether telecommuting must be considered as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, in a “judicial do-over,” the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in EEOC v. Ford revisited a prior decision (previously discussed here) that had concluded that employers may … Continue Reading

Are Unemployment Benefit Determinations Hazy When it Comes to Employee Medical Marijuana Use?

Today is April 20, 2015. However, for certain individuals who partake in smoking a plant in the cannabis genus, it is also “420.” The use of “420” has historically been a shorthand reference to recreational marijuana smoking. However, as more states enact laws legalizing marijuana use for medical conditions, employers may need to reassess their workplace … Continue Reading

A New Day for Pregnant Employee Workplace Accommodations – Understanding the New Framework

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued the much anticipated opinion in a pregnancy discrimination claim, Young v . United Parcel Service. For context, the claim in Young v UPS arose under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA was added to Title VII (the gold-standard in terms of civil rights law prohibiting workplace discrimination) to … Continue Reading

Employee Manuals Need Spring Cleaning Thanks to the NLRB

Thanks to the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB), companies need to add employee manuals to the list of things that need spring cleaning. Specifically, the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel issued a 3/18/2015 report full of examples of how your company’s employee manual likely violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). For background, any … Continue Reading
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