This month, the Michigan Supreme Court declined to examine a Michigan Court of Appeals opinion that permitted a case under the state's whistleblower laws to proceed. The case appears to have expanded what it means to "report" under the Michigan Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). It therefore has the potential for having an impact on employees in the state, as well as practitioners of employment law.
Michigan and the Detroit area have long been hubs of manufacturing in the United States. Unfortunately, a worker-friendly citizenry does not always translate to worker-friendly employment. When it comes to workplace safety, for instance, Michigan is slightly above the national average, but the state's employers still have a lot of room in which to improve. Compared to other states, Michigan ranks 21st safest in terms of its rate of on-the-job fatalities, according to the AFL-CIO's annual "Death on the Job, The Toll of Neglect" report.
In Detroit, the hub of the auto industry in the United States -- if not the world -- automobile-related jobs are a huge economic factor. People who work in the industry rely on their wages and overtime to provide for themselves, their families and to make ends meet. Often, because of economic conditions, the extra income that overtime pay offers is an incentive for workers to remain in a position, even if (or because) it means extra hours.
In the last year, workplace sexual harassment has garnered much attention from the public and the press. Hollywood scandals and the #metoo movement fueled press coverage and at the same time emboldened victims of harassment to come forward. Companies on the wrong side of such employment law cases have learned quickly that protecting those who engage in sexual harassment can drive away customers and paying out claims to victims eats away at the bottom line.
Many Detroit, Michigan, residents frequent restaurants when they do not have time to cook, or they just want to go out and have a good time. At the end of the meal, they will probably leave a tip.
As previous posts have discussed, federal law gives workers in Detroit, Michigan, the right to take an unpaid leave when they need to stay home from work to recover from a medical condition or after they have a child. They also have the same rights when they need to care for relatives.
More and more employees are coming forward each day about their difficult experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment allegations by employees at CBS and Fox News are currently in the headlines and numerous television and movie stars have opened up about their own experiences.
The federal Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, requires employers of a certain size to hold their employees' jobs open. But, only in the event that employees take off of work for an extended period of time due to certain types of medical conditions. The purpose of this act is to allow Detroit, Michigan, residents and others to keep their jobs when they face a difficult life circumstances, like a significant illness.
As in other cases, the federal government establishes minimum standards when it comes to paying employees in the Detroit are or elsewhere overtime compensation, and states are free to go above and beyond these standards when writing their own wage and hour laws.
Many Detroit area employees who have been the target of unwanted sexual advances, lewd jokes and the like may not really want to talk about their experience with anyone, much less someone whom they see as having more power and authority than themselves.