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.
Articles Discussing General Topics Under Michigan Labor & Employment Law.
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.
Despite angry protests at the state capitol, Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder signed a right-to-work statute into law on December 11. Michigan joins 23 other states in exercising the 65-year-old option under the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit “union security” clauses (in general, clauses that require employees to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment) in collective bargaining agreements.
Approximately 17.5 percent of Michigan workers are dues-paying union members, making it the fifth most unionized state in the nation. Michigan is one of the least likely candidates to adopt right-to-work legislation. However, on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, the Republican Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, signed Public Acts 348 and 349 of 2012 into law, making Michigan the twenty-forth right-to-work state. This is a stunning development in the home state of the United Auto Workers (UAW), considered to be a strong, pro-labor state.
An employee who was terminated after testing positive for marijuana (which he obtained and used pursuant to Michigan’s medical marijuana law) has stated no legal claims against his employer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled. Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 11-1227 (6th Cir. Sept. 19, 2012). The Court affirmed dismissal of the plaintiff’s wrongful discharge case against the employer.