Employment & Labor Law

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).

Mishandling Wage Garnishments is Risky and Costly

Federal and state laws provide protection to creditors and employees, but impose significant expense and risk upon employers even for minor or unintentional errors. Don’t assume most garnishments are small and present little risk; some garnishments can be remarkably large.

In the past few years, I have seen default judgments starting at $500 against Michigan employers for mishandling a garnishment – one was for $596,000! These judgments resulted from simple oversight – failing to file and serve the completed garnishee disclosure form within 14 days.

Denying Employment Based on Background Screening Report

When you use information in a background screening report to deny (or possibly deny) employment, you must follow Adverse Action Procedures (AAP) outlined within federal law in the Fair Credit Reporting Act sections §603(k)(1)(B)(ii) and FCRA §615. The AAP is in place so applicants who may be or will be denied employment because of details in the report have an opportunity to review the report and address any errors or discrepancies in the information.

Employer Tips for Effective Record Keeping

Knowing how to effectively create, use, and maintain employment-related documents is one of the most important skills for a manager or human resources professional to learn. Mastering this skill means that you will be able to better manage employee attendance and performance, respond to a federal or state agency investigation or audit, and defend against potential litigation.

Here are our “top five” tips for effective record keeping for employers:

Layoffs vs. Permanent Separations

The term “layoff” is often misunderstood by employers. Other than a brief reference in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that a “layoff” exceeding six months is covered by the Act, the term and the concept have no independent legal significance. It is not a process or theory that is otherwise formally recognized by law. Layoffs exist only as a matter of contract or employment policy.

COBRA Notice

Each employer who normally employed at least 20 full-time or full-time-equivalent employees during the prior calendar year must offer continued health insurance coverage, as mandated by the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), following the occurrence of a “qualifying event”, if the qualifying event would otherwise lead to a loss of health insurance coverage.