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Michigan Governor Expands COVID-19 Paid Medical Leave Rights and Anti-Retaliation Protections

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.

Michigan Issues Executive Order Extending Retaliation Protections Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

On April 3, 2020, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order prohibiting employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work because the employee tests positive for COVID-19, displays principal symptoms of COVID-19, or has had close contact with an individual who has tested positive or has symptoms. The Order takes effect immediately and continues until the end of Michigan’s declared states of emergency and disaster.

Michigan Issues COVID-19 Guidance for Caregivers of Older Adults

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) has issued guidance further tightening the protocols governing in-home caregivers for older adults to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the vulnerable individuals they serve. Although the recommended steps are not mandatory, the MDHSS “strongly urges” direct care workers to follow the guidance while providing support to their clients for non-emergency medical care, activities of daily living (ADLs), and instrumental ADLs.1 For purposes of the guidance, “older adults” are persons age 60 or older, and “direct care workers” include, but are not limited to, personal care assistants (PCAs), certified nurse aides (CNAs), home health aides, private duty nurses (RNs), direct support professionals, and informal caregivers who do not reside at the client’s home.

Michigan Governor Issues ‘Stay Home’ Order Effective March 24

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-21, requiring nonessential businesses and organizations to close their physical workspaces and facilities to customers, most workers, and the public beginning 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020. This Order, issued on March 23, 2020, came days 13 after Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency across the state due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Michigan Issues “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order

On March 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an Executive Order requiring all individuals currently living in the State of Michigan to stay home or at their place of residence, and prohibiting private gatherings of any number of people not part of a single household. The Order takes effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., and continues through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

What Employers Need To Know About Michigan’s Approach To COVID-19

With 53 presumptive-positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan as of March 15, Michigan is taking proactive steps to reduce transmission of the virus. Below is a brief synopsis of what employers need to know.

An Anticlimactic End of 2019 for Michigan Paid Sick and Minimum Wage Amendments

On December 18, 2019, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on whether the Michigan legislature’s strategy to enact two ballot proposals (one concerning paid sick leave and the other minimum wage) and then amend those proposals before their effective dates was consistent with the Michigan Constitution.1 After studying the arguments, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a splintered opinion with four of the seven justices writing separate opinions. The lead and controlling opinion held that the court lacks jurisdiction to issue the requested advisory opinion.

Michigan Legislature Considers Package of Bills Addressing Wage Theft, Independent Contractors, and Noncompetes

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.

Michigan Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Employer in Medical Marijuana Case

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.”

Michigan Employers Can Refuse to Hire Medical Marijuana Users

In an unpublished opinion, a state appellate court held the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) did not provide a cause of action for an applicant whose conditional job offer from the City of Lansing was rescinded after he tested positive for marijuana during a mandatory pre-employment drug test. Eplee v. City of Lansing, 2019 Mich. App. LEXIS 277 (Feb. 19, 2019). This is at least the second decision involving failed drug tests, medical marijuana, and the MMMA; both were decided in the employer’s favor.
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