Michigan News & Analysis

  • 5 trade secret protection risks to consider during pandemic

    In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, companies have changed their core business operations and instituted new practices and procedures in the blink of an eye. The changes, perhaps unknowingly, have created risks that could jeopardize the protection of valuable trade secrets. A trade secret, as defined by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), is information that derives independent economic value from not being generally known or readily ascertainable by others and that is the subject of reasonable efforts under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. Here are five ways the pandemic and its effects could threaten trade secret protection.

  • What employers should know about screening, testing for COVID-19

    As businesses reopen, many employers have wondered what type of screening they may or should conduct for employees returning to work. In separate guidance documents, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have addressed questions about temperature screening, COVID-19 testing, and related issues concerning confidentiality and recordkeeping. Here's what you should know before implementing a screening or testing program.

  • Institute protocols to avoid unsafe workplace liability

    As businesses reopen after the lifting of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, employers are grasping with how to make their workplaces as safe as possible for their employees. Making the task especially difficult are the constant changes in government regulations deeming certain businesses as essential and limiting the extent to which they may operate. Furthermore, employers are faced with the possibility of being sued if an employee contracts the coronavirus at the workplace. Already, businesses across the country are facing lawsuits alleging they failed to maintain safe work environments and safety protocols designed to prevent or limit their employees' exposure to the virus.

  • State bias law changes don't stop for pandemic

    With so much attention on COVID-19 and its impact on workplace issues, employers may have lost track of some important changes affecting Illinois employers in 2020. Some of the changes took effect July 1. Let's take a look.

  • Employers can say oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven victory

    The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) provides employees a right to require employers to make timely and complete payment of earned wages. The law also prohibits employers from making unauthorized deductions from wages. A recent federal court decision grappled with the question of whether a franchisee was an employee of the franchisor and thus able to assert claims under the IWCPA.

  • Looking ahead after pandemic: Employers likely to see enduring change

    What's the world of work going to look like in the weeks and months ahead? Some workplaces in some parts of the country will be farther along the road to recovery than others, but few will go back to being just like they were before words like coronavirus, pandemic, and COVID-19 became all-consuming thoughts. The months of business shutdowns, remote work, and uncertainty have changed employee attitudes and employer practices—changes that are important for management to understand as employers move forward.

  • Racial tension coupled with COVID anxiety challenging workplaces in new ways

    It has been a long and tragic spring and summer for employers as well as society at large. The coronavirus pandemic sent legions of workers to the unemployment rolls, and others had to learn how to do their jobs remotely—all while dealing with the threat of an all-too-often deadly disease. Then, on May 25, came news of another black person dying in police custody, the latest in a string of such deaths. The viral video of George Floyd handcuffed on the ground with a white officer's knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes sparked outrage that erupted in massive protests across the country and abroad. Inequality and prejudice—not new issues in the workplace—came to the forefront, leaving many employers wondering what actions they should take.

  • Q - A: Maintaining confidential personnel files in Ohio

    Q Can HR maintain confidential internal documents within an employee's record that she cannot access?

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    #RecoverStronger Initiative urges inclusive economic recovery. JFF, a nonprofit focusing on driving change to bring equitable economic advancement, in June announced its #RecoverStronger Initiative, which calls on "impact employers"—organizations focused on talent strategies that make a positive impact on workers and communities—to be leaders. The companies involved, including Microsoft, Walmart, Postmates, and other large employers, have committed to business values and practices that prioritize worker well-being and economic mobility in response to COVID-19. The members of the founding coalition also have vowed to stand against the forces of systemic racism. JFF's announcement says strategies include more inclusive hiring practices, development programs that help employees prepare for and thrive in a shifting labor market, total rewards programs that create greater job security and stability, and ethical offboarding strategies that help workers position themselves for new opportunities in growing fields.

  • Coming out of hibernation: a few things to consider when reopening your business

    We have collectively gone through what we hope to be a once-in-a- lifetime experience in which many of us have been working remotely, keeping our children from permanently injuring themselves, and preparing for a trip to Trader Joe's as if we were part of a Navy SEAL team. COVID-19 has affected us in different ways, especially if we've lost a close relative or friend or contracted a severe case of the virus ourselves. The Midwest is seeing some improvement in terms of a lower daily number of new cases and deaths, but certain pockets continue to spike, and the crisis is far from over. As we gradually return to a hybrid normal, between the way it was before the coronavirus and the way it has been for the past few months, we must remain vigilant in our common sense efforts to continue on a path where the outbreak is simply a bad memory.