Michigan’s rate of COVID-19 infection seems to be increasing each day, as does the volume of orders, rules, and guidance documents applicable to Michigan businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elections in the United States are scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Not only will the office of president of the United States be contested, but all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. At the state level, elections will be held for the governorships of 11 U.S. states and 2 U.S. territories.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed into law four bills that encourage employers to resume business in compliance with all COVID-19 safeguards required under the various federal, state, and local statutes, rules, regulations, executive orders, and agency orders. The new laws provide a significant reward for an employer’s compliance: insulation from COVID-19–related liability—including tort claims and claims under the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1974 (MIOSHA)—as long as the employer was implementing all safeguards legally required at the time of the incident giving rise to the claim.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has issued emergency health and safety rules aimed at controlling, preventing, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The emergency rules, which Governor Gretchen Whitmer approved, represent a further effort to fill the void left by a recent Michigan Supreme Court decision invalidating many of the governor’s COVID-19 executive orders.
In the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the state’s COVID-19-related executive orders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued new orders, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has ramped up enforcement of COVID-19-related protocols, and local counties are issuing their own orders as well.
On August 19, 2020, in Marquardt v. Carlton, et al., No. 19-4223, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed summary judgment for the City of Cleveland on a former employee’s claim that the city had terminated his employment in retaliation for his exercising his rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On April 9, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an updated “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO) 2020-42, which extends the state’s emergency declaration through April 30, 2020. The EO reaffirms the measures set forth in Executive Order 2020-21, clarifies prior measures, and adds additional restrictions
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21—the “Stay Home, Safe Safe” order—and various county emergency orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have raised numerous questions regarding their interpretation and enforcement. State leaders in public health, state directors, and the attorney general have commented upon enforcement or issued orders of their own.
On April 3, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order (EO) 2020-36, which expands the protections of Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act until the end of the declared state of emergency and prohibits retaliation against workers who are particularly at risk of infecting others in the workplace.
In Viet v. Copier Victor, Inc., No. 18-6191 (March 10, 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Copier Victor and its founder, Victor Le, on an employee’s overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), finding the employee’s testimony regarding the number of hours he worked on a weekly basis too vague and conclusory to withstand summary judgment.
The public health departments of Oakland County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, and Ingham County have issued public health emergency orders instituting limits and protections for individuals permitted to work in person pursuant to Michigan Executive Order (EO) 2020-21 – Stay Home, Stay Safe.
On March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-21 (E.O. 2020-21), a “stay home, stay safe” directive setting forth the state’s “[t]emporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.” A sweeping order that appears to be broader than orders that have been issued by other states.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued two executive orders over the past several days that will impact certain employers that are responding to the coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19. On March 14, 2020, Executive Order 2020-06 was rescinded and replaced with Executive Order 2020-07, which places temporary restrictions on individuals who may enter health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities. On March 16, 2020, Executive Order 2020-05 was rescinded and replaced with Executive Order 2020-11, which places restrictions on large assemblages and events.
On December 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a sexual misconduct complainant’s fear of further contact with the respondent was not enough to support a claim against the university for deliberate indifference under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
In 2020, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase. The following chart lists the states’ (and certain major localities’) minimum wage increases for 2020—and future years if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees. The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per
On August 29, 2019, legislators from the Michigan House of Representatives announced an ambitious package of 12 bills aimed at creating new criminal and civil penalties to combat employers that fail to properly pay wages and overtime pay. The legislation would also establish enhanced protections and penalties under Michigan’s whistleblower statute and create new civil remedies against employers for overzealous enforcement of noncompete agreements and for misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
On February 19, 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Eplee v. City of Lansing, clarifying that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) does not create “an independent right protecting the medical use of marijuana in all circumstances, nor does it create a protected class for users of medical marijuana.”
Employers in Michigan have been on a roller coaster ride over the last several months regarding new paid sick leave and minimum wage requirements.
Hitting the ground running, Michigan’s new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has imposed new requirements in the employment arena—but only for executive branch state employees and some contractors and grant and loan recipients. This could be a sign of things to come for employers everywhere in Michigan, or at least a sign of building momentum within the state government.
On December 27, 2018, as one of his last acts in office, term-limited Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed an executive directive which will extend sexual orientation discrimination protection to a number of private employees.
In 2018, the Michigan Legislature passed two seemingly conflicting pieces of legislation addressing future minimum wage increases. Now that 2019 is here, many employers may be confused about what the changes are and when they become effective.
In 2019, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase.
On December 14, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed the Paid Medical Leave Act into law. The act requires covered employers to provide paid sick leave to many of their Michigan-based employees.
On December 4, 2018, the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed the Paid Medical Leave Act, which makes wholesale changes to the state’s paid sick leave proposal and is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.
On the night of November 6, 2018, Michigan voters passed the ballot initiative known as the “Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act” (MRTMA) to allow the limited use and possession of marihuana.
On September 5, 2018, the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives adopted a citizen-initiated paid leave ballot proposal that was supposed to be put to a vote in the November 2018 general elections.
On March 26, 2018, Governor Rick Snyder signed an amendment to Michigan’s Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act into law. Public Act 84 (2018) prohibits local government bodies from adopting or enforcing any local policy, resolution, or ordinance that regulates what a prospective employer must request, require, or exclude during the interview process or on an application for employment.
Does discrimination based on gender identity fall within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s protection against discrimination “because of sex”?
In 2018, the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. The following table summarizes the statewide minimum wage increases that have been announced for 2018, along with the related changes to the maximum tip credit permitted and minimum cash wage allowed for tipped employees.
Effective January 1, 2018, the Michigan minimum wage will increase to $9.25 an hour. This is the last of the scheduled increases under Public Act 138 of 2014. Beginning in January of 2019, annual adjustments to the minimum wage will be made based on the unemployment rate and consumer price index, and any future increases cannot exceed three-and-one-half percent.