Employment & Labor Law

Three Keys to Conducting Effective Performance Reviews

Ongoing communication with employees is a cornerstone of peak performance, but it often falls short when put into practice. Performance reviews provide necessary feedback to staff, but are only effective if done properly, which means:

  • the reviews must be consistently administered;
  • the measured performance objectives must be job-related;
  • and the feedback given must be honest and specific.

To help your evaluations rise to the occasion, focus on these three things:

Employers Can Modify or Eliminate Union Retiree Health Benefits

In a significant win for employers, the United States Supreme Court recently invalidated a judicial inference that union retiree health insurance benefits are vested for life in the absence of specific language to the contrary. The Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, issued on January 26, 2015, gives employers more freedom to alter, reduce, or eliminate retiree insurance benefits for employees who were represented by a union before they retired.  

Check Your Release Authorization Now!

Federal law requires that the release/authorization an applicant signs to permit background checks must be on its own separate page…not a few sentences at the bottom of a job application.

Also, there cannot be any indemnification or hold harmless statements on the release/authorization. You can have those statements on a separate document, but they cannot appear on the release/authorization in any way.

Medical Marihuana: Implications to Workplace Drug Policies and Testing

Many Michigan employers, unbeknownst to them, employ individuals with medical marihuana cards in their purse or wallet. And while Michigan’s medical marihuana law prohibits the use of marihuana at work or an employee working while under its influence, many Michigan employers have not defined for employees how medical marihuana use relates to the application of its workplace drug policies and testing procedures.

Employee Privacy

In December 2012, Governor Snyder signed the Michigan Internet Privacy Protection Act (IPPA) into law. The IPPA prohibits schools and employers from asking employees/students to allow the company/school access to their personal social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and Gmail. The IPPA contains an exception for investigations that are necessary to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The IPPA applies to both private and public employers, as well as their respective agents and employees.

The FLSA Exempt Salaried Status

Almost all employers have employees labeled as exempt salaried employees who are not entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40 in a work week. Many challenges to exempt status arise from claims of misclassification – employees who claim that they are not performing exempt duties. Employers must take care to ensure that employees designated as exempt salary are indeed performing exempt duties and are not misclassified. Equally important, employers must also ensure that their exempt salaried employees are properly paid a salary as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).