Michigan News & Analysis

  • Trump order significantly affects fed contractors' workplace diversity training

    On September 22, President Donald Trump issued an unprecedented "Executive Order (EO) on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping" aimed at the federal workforce and federal contractors. The order purports "to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating" through a variety of measures, including significantly limiting the diversity training federal contractors may offer, requiring notification of applicable unions of their commitments under the EO and posting related notices in the workplace, and adding provisions to address the prohibited "race and sex stereotyping" in their subcontracts and purchase orders.

  • To wear or not to wear? Managers' compliance with face-covering mandates

    Most managers are committed to the success of their organizations, employees, customers, and communities. They work hard to provide safe and healthful workplaces. They give their best efforts to manage in good-faith compliance with the myriad federal, state, and local laws applicable to their organizations. They are generally mission-critical to protecting their organizations against liability exposure. Even so, some organizations have faced significant manager resistance to the use of COVID-19-related face coverings in the workplace. Why is that, and what can be done about it?

  • Religious employers not protected from hostile environment claims

    Over the years, courts dealing with employment discrimination suits against churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations have carved out an exemption that bars claims by "ministerial" employees challenging the employer's hiring and firing decisions. The rationale behind the doctrine is grounded in the two religious prongs of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: The Free Exercise Clause protects a religious group's right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments, and the Establishment Clause prohibits government involvement in such ecclesiastical decisions.

  • Now what?! COVID-19 collides with flu season

    While many workplaces are settling into a COVID-19 groove of social distancing, face masks, and hand sanitizer, we find ourselves on the cusp of flu season in the United States. Employers should start preparing now for what could be a difficult workplace winter.

  • New law gives Ohio employers temporary civil immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits

    Governor Michael DeWine recently signed legislation Ohio employers are likely to celebrate, granting civil immunity to businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits.

  • Wisconsin employers must pay employees for donning and doffing PPE

    Under Wisconsin's wage law, employers can't use collective bargaining to modify or eliminate their duty to pay employees for the time they spend donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE), the state supreme court ruled earlier this year. The decision changes the collective bargaining landscape in the state, particularly because the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) expressly allows for collective bargaining over compensation for time spent donning and doffing. It's critical for Wisconsin employers to understand the ruling's implications to insulate themselves from liability.

  • How COVID-19 is affecting courts' enforcement of restrictive covenants

    In the best of economic times, some courts can be reluctant to grant immediate relief and bar an employee from working to enforce a postemployment restrictive covenant. Now that we're in the midst of a global pandemic and an economic recession, the challenge has grown. Current economic considerations are causing some courts to weigh the "balance of harms" on injunctive relief applications in favor of employees who are faced with the difficulty of finding other work in an economic downturn with high unemployment. Nevertheless, our review of recent decisions from around the country indicates the courts remain willing to consider requests for injunctions on an emergency basis to enforce restrictive covenants, particularly when there's a threat of trade secret misappropriation.

  • Q - A: Infected worker wants to save leave time in case elderly mom gets sick

    Q We have an employee working remotely from home who has tested positive for COVID-19. Her doctor says she can return to work in two weeks. She is asymptomatic and wants to continue to work so she can save her Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) in case her elderly mother gets sick. Can we allow her to continue working?

  • Q - A: Permitting employees to clock in and out on personal cell phones

    Q We have a new payroll system that will allow employees to clock in from their phones. Are there any concerns about having nonexempt employees clock in and out from personal mobile phones?

  • Revised FFCRA regs narrow healthcare provider exemption, ease advance notice rules

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently revised its Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave rules in response to a New York federal court decision that struck down portions of the original rule released in April. The FFCRA, a stimulus measure enacted by Congress in March, provides eligible workers with up to two weeks of paid leave, subject to caps, for certain coronavirus-related absences and up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for children who are at home because of school or daycare closures. The rule updates were scheduled to go into effect September 16.