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.
Articles About Michigan Labor and Employment Law.
In an unpublished opinion, a state appellate court held the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) did not provide a cause of action for an applicant whose conditional job offer from the City of Lansing was rescinded after he tested positive for marijuana during a mandatory pre-employment drug test.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.
One week after taking office, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a directive that prohibits state departments and agencies from asking about current or previous salaries until after extending a conditional offer of employment with proposed salary. Executive Directive No. 2019-10, intended to ensure equal pay for equal work among state employees, went into effect immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature on January 8, 2019.
Michigan joined other states with paid sick leave laws on September 5, 2018, enacting the Earned Sick Time Act. Now, amidst political controversy, the Earned Sick Time Act (which never became effective) has been amended and renamed the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act. The Act requires employers in Michigan to provide their employees with accrued paid leave to use for their own or their family members’ medical needs and for purposes related to domestic violence and sexual assault.
On December 14, 2018, Michigan’s employment law landscape dramatically changed—again—when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills (SB) 1171 and 1175. These lame duck session bills overhaul the recently revised minimum wage and tip law and newly created paid sick and safe time law, respectively. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled legislature adopted as law two proposed ballot measures covering these topics. As many expected, the legislature moved swiftly after the election to amend these laws before the changes took effect. This article highlights the more notable changes.
On September 5, 2018, Michigan became the 11th state to enact a mandatory paid sick leave law — the Earned Sick Time Act. The act was a citizen petition-initiated measure that the state legislature approved.
On September 5, 2018, the Michigan Legislature adopted as law a proposed ballot measure that will require employers to provide their employees paid leave that can be used for “sick” and “safe” time purposes. Michigan’s Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA) is the Midwest’s first statewide paid sick and safe time (PSST) law. It follows a common theme familiar to employers subject to one or more PSST laws, but as currently written, omits some common PSST components.
The Michigan Legislature has been busy during the first six months of 2018, addressing several issues that will impact employers across the state. Perhaps most significantly, the Michigan Legislature may send the issue of mandatory paid sick time to voters on their November ballot following the submission of over 380,000 signatures in support of the measure. Also, after a contentious ballot initiative process that made its way to the state Supreme Court, the Michigan Legislature repealed the state’s prevailing wage law, ensuring that future public works projects will no longer need to comply with prevailing wage requirements. Finally, the Michigan Legislature amended the state’s Wage and Fringe Benefit Act to clarify compliance for employers that pay employees on a monthly basis. Additional details on these developments can be found below.
On March 26, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that prevents local governments from regulating the questions employers may ask of applicants during job interviews. The bill amends a 2015 law that prohibited local governments from banning salary history inquiries on job applications.
On March 26, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that prohibits local governments from regulating the information employers can request from prospective employees during the interview process. Public Act 84 amends the Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act (MCL §123.1384), passed in 2015, which imposes a similar restriction on local governments regarding the information employers can request on an employment application.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has updated a poster that employers must post at their Michigan work sites. The poster—Michigan Law Prohibits Discrimination—is a required posting under the Michigan Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act and the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (MPWDA). The new poster was recently released and has reinserted language addressing accommodation under the MPWDA that had been eliminated in 2011. The new poster now states that “Persons with disabilities needing accommodation for employment must notify their employers in writing within 182 days.”
On March 22, 2016, Michigan joined Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee by amending its Franchise Investment Law to make it clear that unless otherwise specifically provided for in the franchise agreement, a franchisee is considered the sole employer of workers to whom it pays wages or provides a benefit plan.1 This amendment – one of six bills signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder since December 2015 – is designed to protect franchisors in the wake of the uncertainty created by the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc.2 pertaining to when a company may be considered a joint employer.
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 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.
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.