On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its proposed new regulations on who can be treated as exempt from overtime pay. These proposals have been in the pipeline for nearly two years, with many in the business community anxious about what to expect. Some of that anxiety was somewhat undeserved, but some fears have been realized.Continue Reading DOL Proposes New White Collar Exemption Regulations – Legal Issues Abound!
Jim Hermon is the Leader of Dykema's Labor and Employment Practice Group. He provides full-circle employment counsel, helping clients manage employer-employee relationships at all levels and meet their state and federal regulatory and statutory obligations. Jim advises on all aspects of the workplace, from onboarding and handbooks to internal investigations and litigation, to exits and severance agreements, always with an eye on the client’s business objectives.
The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Groff v. DeJoy, clarifying its earlier opinion in Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, 432 U.S. 63 (1977) that described an employer’s obligation to an employee seeking an accommodation based upon their religious beliefs. The Plaintiff in the case, Gerald Groff, worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a rural carrier associate, covering for full-time workers who were absent. Groff was a long-time Evangelical Christian who, for religious reasons, believes that Sundays should be devoted exclusively to worship and rest, not secular labor, and could therefore not work on Sundays.Continue Reading Religious Accommodation Standard Under Title VII Reformed by U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Groff v. DeJoy
Employers in Michigan can breathe a sigh of relief in the wake of today’s opinion from the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that the Michigan Legislature acted appropriately when it followed an “amend and adopt” strategy. Prior to that ruling, Michigan employers were faced with a February 20, 2023 deadline by which they would have to offer employees onerous earned sick time, as well as a higher minimum wage, as a result of an initiative that was adopted in 2018. The initiative-led legislation was amended by the legislature in a lame-duck session that resulted in a paid leave law and a minimum wage that were much less hostile to employers.Continue Reading Court of Claims Reversed; Earned Sick Time Act and Original IWOWA Will Not Go Into Effect On February 20, 2023
On Thursday, July 28, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Rouch World, LLC v. Department of Civil Rights, finding in a 5-2 decision that Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”) protects against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. While so holding, the Court overturned precedent set nearly 30 years ago by the Michigan Court of Appeals in Barbour v. Department of Social Services. That court had relied upon then analogous federal precedent in holding that the same statute did not extend protection on the basis of sexual orientation, as “sex” in the context of ELCRA meant only “gender discrimination, not discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Continue Reading Michigan Supreme Court Recognizes Protection Under State Law Against Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
As infections during the worldwide COVID pandemic have waxed and waned, and as vaccinations and new treatments for COVID infection have been introduced, employers have begun to see a substantial increase in the number of employees that have returned to work. That, in turn, has caused many employers to re-evaluate their COVID testing protocols to determine who may return to the office and when.
Continue Reading EEOC Limits Permissible Workplace COVID Testing In Its Most Recent Guidance
On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion on the application for stay filed in National Federal of Independent Business v. Department of Labor. In that opinion, a six-member majority of the Court ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had exceeded its authority in issuing an emergency technical standard requiring the vaccination of employees of larger employers.
Continue Reading Off Again: United States Supreme Court Blocks OSHA COVID-19 ETS
Late Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an Order and Opinion lifting the stay that previously had been entered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which had prevented the OSHA COVID-19 emergency technical standard (the “ETS”) that applied to employers with 100 or more employees from going into effect. This reversal puts many employers in the position of having to immediately restart compliance efforts that may have been paused during the pendency of the stay.
Continue Reading On Again; Sixth Circuit Lifts Stay on OSHA COVID-19 ETS
Nearly two months after President Biden unveiled his COVID-19 Action Plan, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires all employers with at least 100 employees to establish, implement, and enforce a written policy mandating that each employee either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and wear face coverings indoors. OSHA clarifies that the ETS is meant to strongly encourage employers to stipulate that its employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but includes a narrow testing and face covering exception—at least for now.
Although the State of Michigan announced several weeks ago that employers would be permitted to require employees to return to “in-person” work, the emergency rules issued by MIOSHA prohibiting in-person work remained in place. Those emergency rules were rescinded earlier today and replaced with a new set of emergency rules that will remain in effect until October 14, 2021.
Continue Reading MIOSHA Issues Revised Emergency Rules Governing Return To Work
Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the promise of an effective vaccine has been held out as a key component to a return to normality. Now, with the Pfizer vaccine approved, and the Moderna vaccine on the path to approval shortly, employers have begun struggling to determine what their legal obligations are towards employees who refuse to be vaccinated. While we have addressed these issues recently in a Dec. 16 webinar, the EEOC issued guidance to employers in the form of a Technical Assistance Bulletin to clarify how employers should address employee objections to vaccination that arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. While that guidance is not binding upon employers or the Courts, it is nonetheless useful to employers contemplating the legal restrictions that may exist in addressing vaccination in the workplace.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Technical Assistance Regarding Vaccination and Anti-Discrimination Laws