COVID Employer Liability Protection Law Passed in Michigan. Employers Must Have Safety Measures in Place to Avoid Exposure.

27 October 2020

COVID Employer Liability Protection Law Passed in Michigan. Employers Must Have Safety Measures in Place to Avoid Exposure.

Author: Michael Burns

On Thursday Governor Whitmer signed legislation that protects workers from employer discipline if they stay home because they have COVID-19 symptoms (PA 238). The legislation also grants immunity to businesses against lawsuits brought against them from independent contractors, customers, or guests who allegedly contract the virus from exposure at their place of business.

Michigan COVID Employer Safety Rules Rolled Out

20 October 2020

Michigan COVID Employer Safety Rules Rolled Out

Author: Michael Burns

October 5th the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued an emergency order addressing public gatherings and masking rules. On October 24th, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Agency (MIOSHA) issued emergency rules addressing workplace safety. Both were issued to replace Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders going back to March 2020.

Politics and Election Day Employer Practices and Rights

13 October 2020

Politics and Election Day Employer Practices and Rights

Author: Michael Burns

As our national election day approaches on Tuesday, November 3rd, some employers, in addition to providing time off (paid or unpaid) to vote are providing other perks. Starbucks, with over 200,000 employees in the U.S., is offering free transportation to the polls. The coast to coast coffee shop’s program provides a free one-way Lyft ride for employees voting, volunteering as a poll worker, or just to drop off a ballot at the post office.
What Does it Mean Now that the Michigan Supreme Court has Found Governor's Pandemic Executive Order Authority Limited?

6 October 2020

What Does it Mean Now that the Michigan Supreme Court has Found Governor's Pandemic Executive Order Authority Limited?

Author: Michael Burns

The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) issued an opinion (4 - 3 decision) seemingly overturning the 1945 Emergency Powers of Governor Act. The Governor has relied on this law to extend the state of emergency powers past her initial period of implementation. 
Categories: EverythingPeople
DOL Introduces Regulations to Give Clearer Definition to Independent Contractor Status

29 September 2020

DOL Introduces Regulations to Give Clearer Definition to Independent Contractor Status

Author: Michael Burns

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor announced proposed rules to clarify whether a worker is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other laws the DOL is charged with enforcing.

OSHA and MIOSHA Ramp Up Fines for COVID Safety Breaches

22 September 2020

OSHA and MIOSHA Ramp Up Fines for COVID Safety Breaches

Author: Michael Burns

As reported a couple of weeks ago in EPTW, the fines and penalties for breach of employer safety obligations surrounding COVID contagion continues to ramp up. Late last week fines by MIOSHA against 19 more employers were announced. These fines amounted to over $50,000 for infractions including:

Vertical Joint Employment - DOL’s Attempt to Limit and Clarify “Joint Employer” Rule Struct Down

15 September 2020

Vertical Joint Employment - DOL’s Attempt to Limit and Clarify “Joint Employer” Rule Struct Down

Author: Michael Burns

Last week a New York district court judge found the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules limiting when businesses that use other businesses’ workers (vertical) may also be sued by the workers if a wage and hour (FLSA) violation is alleged.

Sixth Circuit Revives Mixed Motive Age Discrimination Suit

8 September 2020

Sixth Circuit Revives Mixed Motive Age Discrimination Suit

Author: Michael Burns

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision determining that an auto parts supplier in Caro, MI, had not committed age discrimination under Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Right Act. Walbro LLC fired the plaintiff, a department manager and 41-year veteran, allegedly based upon his age. He was 60 years old at the time. Lowe v. Walbro LLC (Case 19-2386)

What Do I Do if MIOSHA/OSHA Comes to Inspect My Site for COVID Safety?

1 September 2020

What Do I Do if MIOSHA/OSHA Comes to Inspect My Site for COVID Safety?

Author: Michael Burns

In last week’s EPTW, we reported that MIOSHA had substantially fined a number of employers for failing to adequately protect employees from COVID exposure or infection. These fines were levied under MIOSHA’s general duty rule requiring employers to maintain a safe workplace.
MIOSHA Levying Fines for COVID Safety Non-Compliance; NLRB Also Addressing Safety Issues

25 August 2020

MIOSHA Levying Fines for COVID Safety Non-Compliance; NLRB Also Addressing Safety Issues

Author: Michael Burns

The other shoe is dropping on employers fighting to re-open and bring employees back to work. Six Michigan employers were recently fined for violation of OSHA/MIOSHA’s general duty requirement to provide a safe workplace.

California Keeps Moving Further on Changes to Contractor/Employee Classification Status

18 August 2020

California Keeps Moving Further on Changes to Contractor/Employee Classification Status

Author: Michael Burns

Last week EPTW reported on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) walking back its Browning Ferris decision and loosening criteria determining when one employer can be found to be the employer of its vendor’s employees.

NLRB Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Decision Overturned

11 August 2020

NLRB Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Decision Overturned

Author: Michael Burns

One of the most controversial decisions of the Obama era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was its 2015 decision finding Browning-Ferris who used subcontracted workers (not their direct employees) was in fact a joint employer with its contractors.

NLRB Reins In Employee’s Protected Use of Abusive Language

4 August 2020

NLRB Reins In Employee’s Protected Use of Abusive Language

Author: Michael Burns

The current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to clean up the previous Board’s unrealistic rulings by issuing a new decision again limiting employee protections when verbally abusing their bosses.

DOL Muddies Waters for Employers Trying to Get Reticent Employees Back to Work

28 July 2020

DOL Muddies Waters for Employers Trying to Get Reticent Employees Back to Work

Author: Michael Burns

One of the more downplayed situations some employers are facing while re-opening is the fact that some workers are not returning to work when offered re-employment. These workers have been on layoff and received both state unemployment (in Michigan up to $362/week) and the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act $600 weekly benefit – sometimes resulting in the employee receiving more money for not working.

CDC Updates COVID-19 Employer Screening and Testing Guidance

21 July 2020

CDC Updates COVID-19 Employer Screening and Testing Guidance

Author: Michael Burns

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided employers additional information and guidance on conducting employee COVID-19 screening and testing.

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