Municipal Immunity under the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted, in part, “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families…in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers…” 29 USC 2601(b). The Act entitles eligible employees to take leave: (A) Because of the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for such son or daughter. (B) Because of the placement of […]

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Legal Update: Implications of the Recently Enacted Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act on Municipalities

With the recent legalization of recreational marihuana in Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and California, the total number of states in which recreational marihuana use is legal stands at eight. Twenty states have legalized marihuana for medicinal use. While nationwide legalization is far from a foregone conclusion, with over half of the country legalizing marihuana use in some form the marihuana industry is poised to be the next big growth industry. However, […]

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Occupational Safety and Health Act: New Rules for Injury and Illness Reporting

The workplace environment is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).  The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a final order that will require employers and many high-hazard industries to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA.  Such reporting is already required to be tracked, but the reporting aspect of such injury or illness is what is new. The new rule […]

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Changes in Overtime Rules for Michigan Employers

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has changed the overtime rules for certain salaried workers, which will be applicable to Michigan employers.  The changes are to be implemented on December 1, 2016.  Michigan business owners need to start planning now in order to avoid scrambling in November.  Many Michigan closely held businesses classify salaried employees as being exempt from the overtime rules as a means of controlling payroll costs.  An […]

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Sixth Circuit Holds Dismissal of Firefighter’s Retaliation Complaint

On June 22, 2016, the Sixth District Court of Appeals unanimously issued a decision and order affirming the United States District Court’s dismissal of a firefighter’s two count retaliation complaint against a local municipality, four former and current Trustees, and the Fire Chief. Plaintiff, who is of Asian descent, submitted an application for the vacant Fire Chief position to the township Board of Trustees. During an open board meeting on […]

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Attorney’s “FSLA Final Rule and its Impact on the Government Employer” Article Featured in MIPRIMA Publication

The June 2016 publication of the Michigan Public Risk Management Association (MIPRIMA) features an article written by Suzanne Bartos, an attorney in our Livonia office.  The informative article outlines the recently released rules regarding the payment of overtime to employees and its impact on the government employer. To read the complete article, please click here. Suzanne P. Bartos is an attorney in our Livonia office where she focuses her practice […]

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Sixth Circuit Holds that Police Must Protect Free Expression of Unpopular Views

The “freedom of speech” protected by the First Amendment encompasses both actual speech and expressive conduct.  R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minn. (S.Ct. 1992).  Embodied within the concept of “free speech” is recognition that advocates of unpopular views must be protected, even though their speech may provoke anger in persons who hear it.  Terminiello v. City of Chicago (S.Ct. 1949).  When a speaker passes the bounds of mere argument […]

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Attorneys give Presentation to Police Chiefs on Garrity Protection

Elizabeth Rae-O’Donnell and Sue Bartos, both attorneys in our Livonia office, recently gave a presentation to police chiefs on Garrity Protection.  The Garrity principle is an important tool to provide officers the necessary protection while still enabling departments to conduct thorough and complete internal investigations. In Garrity v. New Jersey, the Supreme Court held that officers are not required to sacrifice their right against self-incrimination in order to retain their […]

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An Employee’s Motivation is No Longer Determinative in a Whistleblower Protection Claim

The Michigan Supreme Court has recently held that the employee’s motivation is no longer a determining factor in whether the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects the employee from an adverse employment action. Since the underlying purpose of the Act is to protect the public, municipalities are most vulnerable to a WPA claim. If government officials, who are bound to serve the public and violate laws, designed to protect the public, […]

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In the Wake of Two Recent Rulings, Attorneys Offer Advice to Law Enforcement on Avoiding Liability

Jim Acho, Doug Curlew and Jennifer Richards, all attorneys in our Livonia office, co-wrote an article highlighting two recent cases that impact law enforcement agencies. The article was published in the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police’s publication Michigan Police Chiefs. The article, “Unfavorable Outcome Affects Law Enforcement” summarizes two recent cases from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that resulted in rulings against law enforcement […]

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