News & Analysis

New developments: Which sick leave law will become effective?

As discussed in a recent Quick Tip, the Michigan Earned Sick Leave Act was adopted by the Republican-majority state legislature with the intent to amend it before it goes into effect. (See "Will Michigan see paid sick leave wage?" on pg. 3 of our October 2018 issue.) With the election of Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic candidate for governor, the lame-duck legislature passed major changes to the Act and renamed it the Paid Medical Leave Act, but it's unclear whether outgoing Republican Governor Rick Snyder will sign the amendments. Either way, Michigan will require employers to provide sick leave beginning in April 2019.

Happy St. Sylvester's Day: thoughts on religious freedom in the workplace

This holiday season ended with the observation that Christmas in America is way more about shopping than religion, but America has been a uniquely religious country throughout its history. We were founded by refugees fleeing religious tyranny, and as a result, we injected freedom of religion (and from religion) into the DNA of our Constitution. Perhaps because of our religious freedom, America became a religious nation. In his 1835 social and political study of the United States, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that "the religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me on arrival in the United States."

Healthcare employees working long shifts may waive second meal break

After a decade of litigation in a case involving novel legislative action and some twists and turns along the way, the California Supreme Court has affirmed a court of appeal decision allowing healthcare employees who work shifts longer than 12 hours to voluntarily waive one of their two required meal periods. The supreme court's decision is a welcome confirmation of the validity of such waivers for shift workers in the healthcare industry.

Meal period case demonstrates that even minimal violations can lead to substantial exposure

A former employee asserted a claim against Starbucks under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) for meal period violations. Even though Starbucks' payroll records showed the employee had been subjected to only two meal period violations during her four months of employment, she was allowed to proceed with a representative claim under the PAGA. At the close of trial, her attorney sought $70 million in PAGA penalties. Read on to find out how the court responded.

Failure to keep accurate time records ensures success of employee's overtime claim

Following a four-day bench trial, a trial court ruled that although an employer failed to keep accurate records of an employee's work hours, the employee wasn't entitled to overtime because his testimony was too vague and uncertain. The court of appeal's subsequent ruling in the case illustrates the impact of an employer's failure to maintain accurate time records.

Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?

If you're like us (and Seth Meyers), you might have a hard time keeping up with all the latest slang terms having to do with new technologies and trends in social interactions and other aspects of modern life. One such term is "ghosting," which is when a person just stops responding to text messages, usually from someone they recently started dating. The term has slowly spread to other situations in which one person suddenly disappears from another person's life, including—you guessed it—when an employee or job applicant is a no-show with no communication or explanation to the employer.

Now's the time to consider marijuana policy

State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, there are only 16 states in which marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Managing a multigenerational workforce in the new year

Today's workforce is more age-diverse than ever before, with Silents, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Millennials, and Generation Zers all sharing work space. With five different generations in the modern workforce spanning the ages from 16 to 72, managing employees in a way that promotes goodwill, productivity, and efficiency is more important than ever.

Earning employee trust can reduce your legal liabilities

"Trust" is a slippery concept. What does it mean for your employees to "trust" you or "distrust" you? And why should you care?

Minimum wage increases heat up the competition for hourly workers

It's no news to most anyone with experience in federal wage and hour laws that they tend to lag far behind the times. The federal minimum wage—which has stood at $7.25 going on 10 years now—certainly falls into that category. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' CPI Inflation Calculator, today's equivalent of the 1978 minimum wage (which was $2.65) would be $10.72. According to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, if the rate had risen at an appropriate pace since 1968, it would be close to $20.