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Michigan Blocks Cities from Passing Employment Ordinances

Effective immediately, municipalities in Michigan are prohibited from regulating the terms and conditions of employment for private employers. The state's Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act specifically declares that regulation of the employment relationship between a private employer and its employees is a state matter and, consequently, outside the express or implied authority of local government bodies. Therefore, any local wage theft, "ban the box" or paid sick leave protections will be preempted under the new state law.

Employers Obtain Relief From Oppressive and Risky Michigan Wage Garnishments

A wage garnishment is a court order that assists plaintiffs with the collection of judgments. Such an order requires an entity to withhold money (i.e., wages) owed to a judgment debtor and divert it to a judgment creditor in order to satisfy the judgment debt. An order for a wage garnishment is startlingly complex to administer and very risky for employers. For instance, if an employer does not timely answer a Michigan garnishment within 14 days, or fails to do any other act required by the court, it is subject to a judgment against it for the full amount of the employee’s debt.

Michigan Court of Appeals Rules Medical Marijuana Users Discharged for Positive Drug Tests May Still Be Eligible for Unemployment Benefits

In a published decision that may surprise employers, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that an employee terminated for testing positive for marijuana but who possesses a medical marijuana card1 is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits so long as the employee’s use of marijuana is in accordance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”), MCL 333.26421, et seq. In Braska v. Challenge Manufacturing Co., No. 313932,2 the court held that when an employee is terminated as a result of a positive drug test caused by the legal use of medical marijuana, the denial of unemployment benefits constitutes a “penalty” in violation of the MMMA’s immunity clause. The court avoided the issue of whether the MMMA governs the conduct of private employers by finding that a decision made by the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (“MCAC”) involves only state action.3 In the absence of guidance from any Michigan appellate court, employers may continue to rely on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428 (6th Cir. 2012), which concluded that the MMMA does not regulate the conduct of private employers.

Michigan Court of Appeals Says Fired Medical Marijuana Users Can Collect Unemployment Benefits

On October 23, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that employees discharged for having failed a drug test because of their medical marijuana use are not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

Michigan Minimum Wage Increases Enacted

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, mandating gradual increases in the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour by January 1, 2018. The Act ties increases to the rate of inflation beginning 2019.

Michigan's Minimum Wage to Increase to $9.25 Over Four Years

On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed the Workplace Opportunity Wage Act (S.B. 934) into law. The Act will increase Michigan’s minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.25 per hour over the next four years – an overall increase of 25%. The increase will occur in phases beginning on September 1, 2014 as set forth below.

Michigan Employers May Soon Obtain Relief From Oppressive And Risky Wage Garnishments

An order for a wage garnishment is surprisingly complex to administer and very risky for employers. For instance, if an employer does not answer a garnishment within 14 days or do any other act required by the court, it is subject to a judgment against it for the full amount of the employee’s debt. The employee’s debt may be small, in the range of several hundred or several thousand dollars. But they are not all small—in one case a court entered a default judgment against an employer for being late on a disclosure in the amount of $596,000.

Michigan Bars Employers from Demanding Private Social Media Information from Applicants, Employees

A new Michigan law signed by Governor Rick Snyder prohibits employers and prospective employers from requiring employees and applicants to grant access to, allow observation of, or disclose information used to access private Internet and e-mail accounts, including social media networks such as Facebook. This ban also applies to educational institutions and their students. Michigan’s Internet Privacy Protection Act, Public Act 478 of 2012, is effective as of December 28, 2012. The new law also prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, failing to hire, or otherwise penalizing those who refuse to disclose information that allows access to such accounts.

Michigan's New "Internet Privacy Protection Act" Sets Limitations for Employers and Employees

On December 28, 2012, Michigan joined California,1 Illinois,2 and Maryland3 in enacting a social media password protection law when Governor Rick Snyder signed the "Internet Privacy Protection Act" (IPPA or the "Act"). In an accompanying statement, the governor declared that "cyber security is important to the reinvention of Michigan, and protecting the private internet accounts of residents is a part of that," and that "potential employees and students should be judged on their skills and abilities, not private online activity." To accomplish these objectives, the IPPA, like the other states' social media legislation, generally prohibits employers from gaining access to applicants' or employees' personal social media accounts. The Act, however, also permits employers to access employees' use of employer equipment and systems and allows for investigations, under certain circumstances, of employees' personal social media accounts. While relatively straightforward, the Act will require businesses operating in Michigan to grapple with a range of interpretive challenges.

New Michigan Law Prohibits Employers from Asking Applicants and Employees for Access to Personal Internet Accounts

The apparent practice by employers of requesting access to employees’ and applicants’ social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, has led the state of Michigan to pass the Internet Privacy Protection Act (PA 478 of 2012)(IPPA). The Act was signed by Governor Rick Snyder on December 27, 2012, as part of a flurry of late session legislative activity and given immediate effect.