Michigan Employment Law Advisor

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On April 22, 2019, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced she will establish a Payroll Fraud Enforcement Unit to investigate wage theft. More specifically, this Unit will also investigate the misclassification of workers as independent contractors and the nonpayment of overtime. The Detroit News reported the AG’s new unit will focus primarily on the misclassification of employees as self-employed independent contractors. Such misclassification allows an employer to avoid paying overtime, health benefits or worker’s compensation…
Many businesses owners (wrongly) assume they can limit their company’s liability for employment discrimination claims by entering into an independent contractor agreement. But that is not always true as shown by a recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision. Specifically, this decision provides a reminder that companies must focus on compliance with employment laws for its entire workforce, including contractors. Michigan discrimination laws: “Independent contractor” versus “employee.” In Cook v. Farm Bureau Life Ins. Co. of
A common mistake employers make in protecting their business interests is poorly drafted non-compete agreements. And frequently that mistake involves drafting inconsistencies. As explained below, inconsistencies provide a foundation for challenging the scope or outright enforceability of a company’s non-compete restriction. In this regard, we recently defended against Christian Financial Insurance/Christian Insurance Group, Inc.’s motion for injunctive relief. The motion was filed against its former sales agents. After raising concerns about Christian Insurance Group’s business…
Depending upon your perspective, Michigan voters were given a big lump of coal or Michigan businesses got an early Christmas present. Specifically, this week Governor Snyder signed bills to delay and limit the scope of voter-approved ballot measures that would have increased the minimum wage and required employers to provide paid sick time to their employees. Citizen groups previously collected enough signatures to put the proposals on the November ballot. However, under a procedural mechanism,…
“It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t deliberate. And it wasn’t reckless.” This defense was made in response to three chocolate bars labeled “Lab tested to 100 mg of THC” (THC refers to tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis) found on a private pilot’s plane after it made an emergency landing in October 2016. According to the National Law Journal (by C. Ryan Barber), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency order in February 2018…
“Smoke ’em if you got ’em.” Recreational marijuana is officially legal today in Michigan. However, there are a host of budding issues that employers and employees must address with this legalization. For background, Michigan voted in November to legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults who are 21 or older. About ten years earlier, Michigan voters approved the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. To help cut through the haze of confusion surrounding Michigan’s law,…
Two bills are being fast-tracked through a Michigan lame-duck legislative session that would fundamentally alter the State’s legal system regarding awarding attorney fees to a prevailing party. Specifically, the two bills were introduced on November 8, 2018, and are: SB 1182 Civil procedure; costs and fees; attorney fees; require the award to the prevailing party. Amends 1961 PA 236 9MCL 600.101 – 600.9947) by adding sec. 2443; and SB 1183 Civil procedure; costs…
Are Michigan employers at risk of being sued for violating rights of individuals who are authorized medical marijuana users? A case from Connecticut under that state’s law suggest the answer may be yes. Specifically, a Connecticut federal court found an employer guilty of employment discrimination after it refused to hire a medical marijuana user. The employer, SSC Niantic Operating Company LLC, offered the plaintiff a job contingent on her passing a pre-employment drug test. The…
The office share company WeWork Cos. reached a settlement with attorneys general of New York and Illinois over requiring most employees to sign over-broad noncompete agreements. The Wall Street Journal, by Eliot Brown, reported that WeWork previously required most employees, including baristas and receptionists, to sign agreements barring them from working at similar businesses for a year after leaving WeWork. The WSJ further reported that as part of the settlement, WeWork agreed to release 800…
At the beginning of 2018, we advised our business clients to expect sexual harassment claims to increase. This advice was in response to various high profile sexual harassment claims and the #MeToo Movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. Consistent with these predictions, it was reported on 9/17/2018 by Chris Opfer for Bloomberg’s Human Resources Report (subscription required) that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw an increase in sexual harassment claims this year…