27 October 2020
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.
20 October 2020
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.
13 October 2020
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.
6 October 2020
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.
29 September 2020
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.
22 September 2020
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:
15 September 2020
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.
8 September 2020
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)
1 September 2020
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.
25 August 2020
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.
18 August 2020
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.
11 August 2020
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.
4 August 2020
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.
28 July 2020
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.
21 July 2020
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided employers additional information and guidance on conducting employee COVID-19 screening and testing.