Should Michigan Employers “Ban the Box” and Remove the Criminal Conviction Question from Applications?

On November 2, 2015, President Barack Obama announced a new executive order to “Ban the Box,” which is a check off on federal job applications that requires job applicants to disclose their criminal conviction history on the face of the application. This initial disclosure often causes employers to eliminate applicants before ever considering their qualifications. Background investigations will still occur, but at the federal level, agencies will delay inquiries into […]

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Strategies to Minimize Joint Employer Liability

Employers should re-evaluate the creation of indemnity with clients where workers are placed at client work sites and also analyze any existing indemnity provisions of contracts with others where either has agreed to provide indemnity. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed more than 30 years of precedent in the recent case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., which effectively changed the rules regarding protection for previously protected employers. Most […]

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New Rules Affecting Workers and Employers by the U.S. Department of Labor

Many businesses, as employers, have experimented with treating their workers as independent contrac­tors in an effort to avoid withholding wages for taxes, social security (FICA) and unem­ployment insurance, as would be required for workers classified as employees. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) com­piled a new six-part test, issued under the Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1. Is the work an integral part of the employer’s business? For example, a lawyer doing work […]

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EEOC Bans Discrimination against Sexual Orientation in the Workplace

On July 16, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that all job discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This historic 3-2 decision does what Congress and most courts so far have refused to do: ban discrimination against gays in the workplace. Until now, only a handful of states and municipalities have done […]

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Gov. Snyder Signs Law to Bar Municipal Wage, Employment Rules

On June 30, 2015, Governor Rick Snyder signed HB 4052 into law which stops local governments from adopting, administering or enforcing future ordinances or policies that require local businesses to pay wages, fringe benefits or leave time that exceed State or Federal requirements. The bill will take effect on September 28, 2015. Currently, Michigan’s minimum wage is $8.15 per hour which will rise to $8.50 per hour on January 1, […]

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Litigation: How to be Better Prepared

Under the American legal system, there is no realm of human activity that fails to spawn litigation. The financial cost of a potential judgment is easily recognized. Less understood is the cost of time, energy, and resources (financial and human) of the litigation process itself. Even the defendant who avoids judgment by “winning” his case will still have expended resources that the law generally affords no avenue to recover. The […]

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Telecommuting May Not be a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA if On-Site Attendance is an Essential Function of the Position

On April 10, 2015, a full panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee) decided in an unpublished decision that a former Ford employee, Jane Harris, was not a qualified individual with a disability because her excessive absences prevented her from performing the essential functions of a resale buyer. The Court further held that Harris’ telecommuting proposal was not reasonable because it removed an […]

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E-Verify: Understanding Responsibilities and Rights

E-Verify is a federal program that employers use to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility in the United States. The use of E-Verify has grown exponentially in the last few years and its use only continues to increase. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, just over 1,000 employers were enrolled in E-Verify in 2001, and by 2015, over 688,000 employers were enrolled. A contributing factor to this […]

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Public Act 152: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

In 2011, the Governor signed into law PA 152 of 2011, known as the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contributions Act, which caps the amount of money public employers, such as colleges, cities, townships and villages can pay towards employee health care. The law provides employers with two options for cost sharing. The default option is a monetary “hard” cap based on an employee’s marital and family status. Employees would be […]

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Public and Private Employers Subject to 50 Employee Threshold Under the FMLA: Does Unconditional Language in Employee Manual Create a Jury Question?

Both private and public employers are subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their employment if they meet certain statutory requirements (employed for at least 12 months, and worked 1250 hours within the preceding 12 months). The FMLA defines a “covered employer” as being “any person engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity […]

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