Michigan News & Analysis

  • Don't give employees a legal claim for the holidays

    It's the holiday season again. Holidays can be a great time to foster a sense of community and a positive corporate culture. But don't let your guard down on issues that carry potential liability.

  • Looking to add an innovative benefit? Student loan assistance an option

    On a quest to recruit top talent, many employers are getting creative with perks and benefits. Free food and ping-pong tables are nice. So is a generous employer match on a 401(k). But many employees may not get too excited about perks and retirement benefits when they're struggling with student loan debt. And it's that financial burden that is leading employers to explore ways to ease the pain for their debt-ridden workers.

  • Changing laws, attitudes pushing employers to explore alternatives to drug tests

    Nobody wants an impaired person on the job, especially in a safety-sensitive position. But how can a supervisor know if an employee who seems a little off is high? And—perhaps more important—how can an employer screen applicants to reduce the chance of hiring someone who is likely to come to work impaired? The first thought may be to use drug testing, but that option isn't as simple as it once was.

  • Returning an employee to work after active duty military leave

    Q We have an employee who is on a military leave because he was called to active duty at the end of last year. We've heard that he has returned, but he hasn't contacted us yet. Is he allowed a certain amount of time to readjust before returning to work? Must we wait for him to contact us, or can we reach out to him? Also, should we be asking him for documentation to verify when his active duty leave actually ended?

  • 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery filing open

    The filing period for the 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Program has begun. The lottery makes permanent resident visas available to 55,000 people randomly selected from all eligible applications received during the one-month filing period.

  • Terminating protected employees: how and when to act when faced with the risk of litigation

    Q We have an employee who has been having performance problems for many years, and his managers have been reluctant to terminate him because he has a known disability. How and when can we terminate this employee without risking a claim of discrimination?

  • Military service laws require more than just granting time off work

    A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Michigan employers) highlights that an employer can be sued for violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and analogous Ohio law based on statements by managerial employees that reflect a bias against taking leave for military service, even though the employer never denied a single request for such leave.

  • Preparation, training help employers cope with unsettling ICE news

    The thought of immigration enforcement agents surrounding a workplace, seizing business records, questioning employees, and even making arrests is worrisome to say the least. But it has been and likely will continue to be a reality for many employers since audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are on the upswing. Plus, the Social Security Administration has once again begun sending "no-match letters" to employers that have W-2 forms with mismatched names and Social Security numbers. Now referred to as educational correspondence (EDCOR) or an employer correction request (ECR), the letters require employers to take action to resolve the problem. So the signals are clear: Employers with undocumented workers are on notice that they face serious consequences.

  • New OT rule sparks questions beyond where to set salary threshold for 'exempt' status

    It has taken several years, but the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finally issued its new final rule determining which employees can be exempt from the law requiring overtime pay. The new rule, slated to take effect January 1, 2020, is far more moderate than the Obama administration's effort to update the salary threshold for the overtime exemption. A federal judge struck down that rule shortly before it was to go into effect in December 2016.

  • Wage and benefit questions and answers

    This month's article addresses some common pay and benefit questions under Michigan law.