American Society of Employers - Michael Burns

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EverythingPeople gives valuable insight into the developments both inside and outside the HR position.

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If Marijuana is Reclassified, What Jobs Might It Impact?

28 May 2024

If Marijuana is Reclassified, What Jobs Might It Impact?

Author: Michael Burns

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I narcotic down to a Schedule III drug. Schedule I controlled substances are in the “mean street neighborhood” including heroin, LSD, and other drugs with “no currently acceptable medical use or treatment.” Schedule III drugs, on the other hand, where it is proposed marijuana be moved to is in a “friendlier neighborhood” of classified...
UAW Loses Mercedes-Benz Unionization Election

21 May 2024

UAW Loses Mercedes-Benz Unionization Election

Author: Michael Burns

Last week workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant near Tuskaloosa, Alabama voted down unionization by the United Auto Workers (UAW). The unofficial vote count was 2642 votes against vs. 2045 votes for the union. This came about a month after the UAW won its election at the Volkswagen (VW) plant further north in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There the UAW won 2628 votes for the union vs. 985 against the union.

Michigan Supreme Court Rules Friends Are Protected from Retaliation Under State’s Civil Rights Law

14 May 2024

Michigan Supreme Court Rules Friends Are Protected from Retaliation Under State’s Civil Rights Law

Author: Michael Burns

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last Friday that the friends of an employee who also work at the same place are protected from retaliation by the employer.  Following similar protections found under the federal civil rights act under Title VII, the Michigan Court found that Michigan’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act also permits workers to bring third party, or associational, retaliation claims if they think the employer targeted them to punish a coworker for bringing a claim...
Employers Have Seen These Times Before

7 May 2024

Employers Have Seen These Times Before

Author: Michael Burns

Over the weekend I came across an article in the Labor Union News entitled "UAW Involvement and Support in Pro-Palestinian Protests Raises Question.” The gist of the article was that the UAW may be supporting at least some of the pro-Palestinian protests causing problems at many universities right now.

Federal Trade Commission Announces Ban on Most Noncompete Agreements

30 April 2024

Federal Trade Commission Announces Ban on Most Noncompete Agreements

Author: Michael Burns

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a final rule banning employer noncompete agreements. Noncompete agreements or clauses per the FTC are a “term or condition of employment  that prohibits a worker from, penalizes a worker for, or prevents a worker from (1) seeking or accepting work in the United States with a different person where such work would begin after the conclusion of the employment that includes the term or condition; or (2) operating a business in...
Final Pregnant Worker Fairness Act – Important Definitions and How it Differs from the ADA

23 April 2024

Final Pregnant Worker Fairness Act – Important Definitions and How it Differs from the ADA

Author: Michael Burns

As we wrote about last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its final rules implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The final rules provide some important definitions to understand.

Final Pregnant Worker Fairness Act Rules Released This Week

16 April 2024

Final Pregnant Worker Fairness Act Rules Released This Week

Author: Michael Burns

On Monday the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that the final version of the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (PWFA) regulations will be published in the Federal Register August 19th.  The PWFA was passed December 29, 2022, and took effect in June of 2023. Last August proposed rules were released, and the public’s comments were requested. Over 100,000 comments were received.

Limitation of Action Agreements Are Effective in Michigan

9 April 2024

Limitation of Action Agreements Are Effective in Michigan

Author: Michael Burns

Limitation of Action Agreements are a contract between the employer and employee, usually agreed upon at the start of employment or even before on the application form, whereby the employee agrees they will not bring a wrongful employment lawsuit against their employer typically beyond 180 days of the cause of action. This shortens the time an employee can bring a wrongful employment lawsuit against their employer from what the statute or common law may ordinarily provide them.
OSHA Issues Rule Allowing Unaffiliated Third Parties Access to Private Employer Workplaces

2 April 2024

OSHA Issues Rule Allowing Unaffiliated Third Parties Access to Private Employer Workplaces

Author: Michael Burns

On Friday, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) issued final “walk around” rules that will allow persons such as union representatives/activists or other third parties to accompany OSHA Inspectors into non-union workplaces (onto private property) to walk with them during safety inspections. “The new rules give the employer and the employee the right to authorize a representative to accompany the OSHA official during a workplace inspection.” The final rule...
NLRB AG Keeps Pressing for More Disciplinary Power Over Employer Handbook Rules/Policies

26 March 2024

NLRB AG Keeps Pressing for More Disciplinary Power Over Employer Handbook Rules/Policies

Author: Michael Burns

When reviewing employee handbooks one of the tougher feedback discussions is about how a policy is written and having to explain why on its face it is a fairly esoteric policy, but it is too broadly written and may be a violation of federal labor law.

Tips For Complying with Michigan’s Sunshine Law Regarding Employee Records

19 March 2024

Tips For Complying with Michigan’s Sunshine Law Regarding Employee Records

Author: Michael Burns

Most Michigan HR professionals know something about the Bullard Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act. It has been around since 1978 (PA 397) and permits current and former employees the right to review what is in their personnel file. This type of law is often referred to as a sunshine law.

NLRB’s Joint Employer Rule Stayed

12 March 2024

NLRB’s Joint Employer Rule Stayed

Author: Michael Burns

Last Friday a federal judge struck down the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regulations expanding its control over the job terms and conditions it uses to determine whether two employers are in fact one for the purposes of labor law application. The Joint Employer rule was supposed to take effect Monday (March 11th) from a previous court stay, but the Texas federal judge hearing the case vacated that decision and held the regulations were too far reaching in their scope for a federal...
Gen Z Getting a Bad Reputation With Employers

5 March 2024

Gen Z Getting a Bad Reputation With Employers

Author: Michael Burns

If you have not heard, Gen Z (also referred to as Zoomers), those people born between 1997 and 2013 have been using their “ghosting” powers to not show up for interviews with employers or even going through the interview process, getting the job, and then not showing up for their new job without the courtesy of even a phone call – not cool. This behavior is predominantly attributed to Gen Z but has also been picked up by their next generation elders too – the...
NLRB Board Overrules its Administrative Judges to Hold in Favor of Over-riding Dress Rules for Worker BLM-Wear

27 February 2024

NLRB Board Overrules its Administrative Judges to Hold in Favor of Over-riding Dress Rules for Worker BLM-Wear

Author: Michael Burns

Should workers violating a company dress code policy be protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if they are wearing or displaying political slogans on their uniforms protesting for an issue unrelated to their work?

NLRB Holds That Union Engaged in Union Busting Against Its Own Workers

20 February 2024

NLRB Holds That Union Engaged in Union Busting Against Its Own Workers

Author: Michael Burns

In the category of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander we have the pro-union National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently finding the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union engaged in a myriad of unfair labor practices with its own unionized staff who are members of FAIR. (Yes, unions have unions.)

NLRB’s Cemex Pro-union Standard Challenged in Court

13 February 2024

NLRB’s Cemex Pro-union Standard Challenged in Court

Author: Michael Burns

Cemex Construction is challenging the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “radical change” which would allow the NLRB to bypass an organizing election and order bargaining if it finds the employer engaged in an unfair labor practice during the campaign. It also extended the rules for requiring union election if the union demands recognition. Before this decision, an employer was not required to recognize a union and the union was the one that had to demand an election....
Super Bowl Squares and March Madness Brackets – What Employers Need to Know

6 February 2024

Super Bowl Squares and March Madness Brackets – What Employers Need to Know

Author: Michael Burns

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, and while it will not be as great without the Lions there, there is a good chance your employees are betting on it. The American Gaming Association estimated that upwards of 28 million Americans participated in office pools for the 2023 Super Bowl. This was up 50% from 2022 and it is expected even more employees will be in office pools this year. How should employers feel about that?

BLS Reports 2023 Union Membership Down… Again

30 January 2024

BLS Reports 2023 Union Membership Down… Again

Author: Michael Burns

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported union membership continued to decline in 2023. The BLS reported that private sector union membership increased by 191,000 members during the year. Union representation was 11.2% of workers in 2023 down from 11.3% in 2022.

The Election Year is Upon Us - Be Prepared for Workplace Political Discussions…or Worse

23 January 2024

The Election Year is Upon Us - Be Prepared for Workplace Political Discussions…or Worse

Author: Michael Burns

While it seems like elections and politics have been on-going rather than every two or four years, we are now entering the actual election year, and employers should prepare themselves to address possible employee dissent, rancor, or worse.

NLRB Judge Holds in Favor of Employer’s Dress Policy

16 January 2024

NLRB Judge Holds in Favor of Employer’s Dress Policy

Author: Michael Burns

In a little bit of a surprise from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an NLRB judge upheld a Whole Foods’ ban on Black Lives Matter (BLM) wear/gear in its workplace. Some may remember that in 2020 Whole Foods was challenged by civil and labor rights activists for prohibiting the wearing of BLM insignia on its uniforms while at work. Whole Foods had a policy that banned “any visible slogan, message, logo or advertising” on its uniforms.

Independent Contractor Final Rules Released

9 January 2024

Independent Contractor Final Rules Released

Author: Michael Burns

Tuesday, January 9, 2024, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its Final Rule outlining whether an independent contractor can really be classified under federal law as such.  This presents employers (the buyers of IC services) that use independent contractors with a new and potentially costly concern. The DOL’s rule changes how an employer is allowed to classify those workers it engages as contractors rather than employees. The rule  will impact contractors engaged by a...
Non-union Employers Should Be Preparing for 2024

2 January 2024

Non-union Employers Should Be Preparing for 2024

Author: Michael Burns

As we closed out 2023, unions continued to win recognition elections at a rate of almost 75%. In 2023 this percentage is from 1,316 certification elections run nationally. This included an overall win rate in September, 2023 of 91%. This win rate was for recognition certification elections – also called RC elections.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds for Employer in “Reverse” Sex Discrimination Case

19 December 2023

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds for Employer in “Reverse” Sex Discrimination Case

Author: Michael Burns

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled on a sex discrimination case where the Plaintiff argued she was denied a promotion twice and then the employer moved to demote her because she was heterosexual. The case involved the “unusual employer who discriminates against the majority.” This type of discrimination is sometimes erroneously referred to as reverse discrimination.

Michigan High Court Examines “Adopt and Amend” Action That Changed Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Laws

12 December 2023

Michigan High Court Examines “Adopt and Amend” Action That Changed Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Laws

Author: Michael Burns

Michigan’s current minimum wage and medical leave laws may be overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan’s current laws on its minimum wage and medical leave were passed by a GOP controlled legislature and governor back in 2019 by a unique legislative action called adopt and amend. That legislature and the governor saw two ballot initiatives introduced in 2018 for a public vote that would be (and could be again) unfavorable to the Michigan business community – in...
What is a “Long Term Part-Time” (LTPT) Employee and Why Should You Care?

5 December 2023

What is a “Long Term Part-Time” (LTPT) Employee and Why Should You Care?

Author: Michael Burns

While we were all enjoying the Friday after Thanksgiving the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued a set of rules that could benefit a small (probably) number of employees by making them eligible to participate in an employer’s 401K defined contribution plan.

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