Michigan News & Analysis

  • Employers, stay updated on changes to IRS Form W-4

    The IRS released the redesigned 2020 Federal W-4 Form. The updated form implements the changes initiated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is meant to reduce complexity for both employees and employers. The IRS has championed the changes as necessary steps in increasing the transparency and accuracy of the employee withholding tax system.

  • 5 tips to help keep your workplace union-free

    Union membership in the United States dropped to a record low in 2019, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Nevertheless, labor unions are still aggressively looking for new ways to refill their membership rolls. Here are five tips to ensure your workplace remains union-free.

  • Conservatory worker's claim fails to uproot employment-at-will doctrine

    Illinois, like almost every other state, adheres to the centuries- old doctrine of employment at will, which means that either an employer or an employee may terminate their relationship at any time, without notice and without reason. However, an employer's ability to terminate someone is constrained by certain statutory limits, including the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws. In addition, for about 40 years now, Illinois courts have recognized a common-law tort claim of retaliatory discharge as another exception to employment at will. (A tort is a wrongful act or personal injury.)

  • Former teacher can proceed on ADA claim, but victory may be a heavy lift

    The interactive process required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) often feels like a tennis match between an employee and an employer. The employee lobs a claim that she has a disability over the net and requests an accommodation. The employer, using a reflex volley, may believe the claim is weak or strong and handle it accordingly, without fully thinking through the ADA's requirements. A recent case from an Illinois federal court serves up a useful overview of how courts interpret the definition of "disability" under the ADA.

  • To defer or not to defer? That is the question

    It's time to dust off the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) cases in effect before the Obama era. Labor attorneys have learned over the years not to throw out the "old" law, knowing full well it will once again come full circle. The NRLB did exactly that in a recent decision when it overruled the "current" deferral standards and returned to the long-standing prior deferral standards.

  • 7th Circuit 'Likes' curbs on notice to employees bound to arbitration

    Employers that face collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) often feel pinched. Pursuing a strong defense on the merits (or even attempting to reach an early settlement) may take a backseat to the employees' counsel's attempts to increase pressure on the employer through the process of notifying potential class members of their right to "opt in" to the litigation. The competing interests become even more complex if some of the employees have signed agreements requiring them to arbitrate any claims against the employer.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Fighting labor shortage with charter buses. With the unemployment rate hitting historic lows, many employers are struggling to find workers. Package delivery giant FedEx is fighting the problem by turning to chartering buses to bring people in from areas with available workers. The Wall Street Journal featured FedExs program in an article that explains how the company buses workers to its Memphis, Tennessee, hub from areas hours away in Mississippi. The workers earn starting wages of $13.26 an hour, better wages than are available in their home area, where manufacturing jobs have been lost. The busing program runs year-round and was nearing its first anniversary when the article was published.

  • Federal Watch

    Bill gives paid parental leave to 2 million federal workers. A bill including a provision to grant federal workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave has passed as part of a larger defense bill backed by President Donald Trump. The bill passed the Senate on December 17 and had previously passed the House. Its expected to provide paid parental leave for more than 2 million federal workers and was backed by Ivanka Trump, the presidents daughter and a key adviser. The parental leave part of the bill was supported by many Democrats and opposed by many Republicans. It was one of the legislative compromises reached during the runup to the impeachment fight.

  • HR Technology

    Hiring platform releases code of ethics for using AI. Modern Hire, a platform aimed at enabling organizations to improve hiring experiences, has released a code of ethics regarding the ethical development and adoption of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in hiring. The code incorporates the following tenets: Modern Hire evaluates only information candidates knowingly provide, it will provide candidates with feedback whenever permitted by clients, it discloses to candidates how their data is being evaluated and used, and it rigorously develops and tests all scoring methodologies for its AI-powered hiring assessments and interviews. The company said its approach and code of ethics reflect a candidate-first, job-relevant approach to the use of technology.

  • ACA wends its way back to the Supreme Court

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments on religious exemptions to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) requirement that employers cover birth control in their healthcare plans. Sixteen attorneys general filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief with the Court in which they argued that forcing companies with religious objections to birth control to pay for it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).