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Detroit Employment Law Blog

How unemployment compensation can stop in Michigan

Employees who lose their jobs in Michigan may be under the impression that they will receive unemployment compensation. However, there are certain rules in the state that dictate the providing of benefits. It is important for workers who have lost their jobs and are expecting to receive unemployment to understand what can stop the benefits. The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) will accrue the necessary information to make a decision.

There are numerous reasons why an employee might be disqualified from receiving benefits. For example, quitting by one's own volition without a good reason that can be attributable to the employer or retiring voluntarily may lead to a disqualification. An employee may also be disqualified if he or she was dismissed for misconduct that was linked to the work, dismissed due to being intoxicated at work, was placed on suspension for disciplinary reasons, was laid off for misconduct, was dismissed because of absence due to being imprisoned or convicted, was dismissed for discipline due to taking part in a wildcat strike or was dismissed for theft.

Suspended flight attendant files religious discrimination lawsuit

Employees in Michigan come from various places and have a wide range of beliefs. When they are working, they have the right to exercise their beliefs without having to worry about their employee rights being violated by employer protestation or biases. However, it is a reality that certain instances of workplace discrimination sometimes occur. Those who are facing it might not know their rights or where to turn for help in protecting them. This is when consulting an attorney about religious discrimination may be beneficial.

For example, a flight attendant who happens to be a Muslim garnered headlines in the summer of 2015 when her airline suspended her because she refused to serve alcohol, as her religion prohibits her to do. In 2013, she was hired by the airline. She had also converted to Islam and, at the time, was not aware that she was prohibited from serving alcohol as one of the religion's tenets. Because of that, she worked the situation out with her supervisor in a way that she did not have to serve alcohol. This arrangement was successful.

Employee rights and prohibited conduct under freedom to work

Michigan workers need to know that they have certain rights under the law while at work. Many might know about minimum wage laws, whether or not they are entitled to certain break times, and their right to have sick days and overtime. However, there are other protections, too, including what are known as "freedom to work" laws. This particular post will discuss freedom to work as it relates to the private sector.

Employees have the right to engage in, or refrain from, certain activities while employed or as a contingency of employment. Employees have the right, and protection from retaliation, if they organize and take part in a labor organization, take part in activities for collective negotiating and bargaining, and negotiate and bargain with employers using representatives of their choosing.

Michigan whistleblower case allowed to move forward

In Michigan and across the country, there are instances where an employee finds out about wrongdoing at the workplace and decides to take action to stop it. This, however, can put their employment status in jeopardy, sometimes violating their employee rights and resulting in unlawful retaliation or wrongful termination. When this happens, it is important that an employee is fully aware of his or her ability to seek legal protection and be compensated for any damages suffered.

In a high profile case involving two former state representatives who were having an affair and tried to cover it up by sending provocative emails to other members of their political party, two former aides alleged that their reporting of the activities are protected under the whistleblower statute. It was ruled by a judge that they are able to move forward with their lawsuit. The judge stated that their behavior was protected because they reported violations of both state law and rules of the Michigan House of Representatives.

How does compensatory time relate to an overtime claim?

Employees in Michigan who do not receive overtime when they are supposed to need to understand their rights to lodge a complaint and receive their unpaid overtime. Not receiving overtime is an example of a denial of benefits, and it is against the law. That said, there is also compensatory time that employers can give to employees in lieu of wages for overtime if certain criteria are met.

Employees who are not subject to a collective bargaining agreement can receive compensatory time if they choose to do so. For this law to be applicable, the employer and employee must be covered under the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act. Those not covered by this law are unable to take part in this option. The employer must allow the employee who takes compensatory time to have a minimum of 10 paid days of leave each year along with the compensatory time. If this is not the case, compensatory time is not possible. For employees who are not working under a CBA, he or she must enter into the compensatory time option willingly and without coercion, intimidation or as a requirement for employment. For every hour of overtime, there must be 1.5 hours of compensatory time and compensatory time off given. It is not legal for the compensatory time to surpass 240 hours. If it does, then the employee must receive overtime pay.

Woman files lawsuit for employee rights violation

There are certain rights that workers in Michigan expect to have in the workplace, and the law seeks to protect these rights. This applies to a wide variety of issues, too. Employee rights encompasses freedom from illegal workplace discrimination, unfair denial of benefits, protection for retaliation, and more. Those who have had their rights violated, been deprived of income, or even been terminated because of protestations that illegal acts perpetrated against them have the right to pursue compensation via a legal filing.

To serve as an example, a woman who worked for a local big-box retailer has filed a lawsuit alleging that she did not receive the proper accommodations to use a breast pump as she was breastfeeding her child. The woman states that the company did not provide her with a location to do what was necessary and was forced to use a bathroom and later a computer server room. The latter had a surveillance camera located inside. She seeks more than $25,000 in her case. In addition, she asserts that she was discriminated against based on her gender, her privacy was violated, and there was intentional infliction of emotional distress.

What are employee rights when it comes to health and safety?

With any job in Michigan, workers have the right to believe that they will be accorded the proper safety procedures and equipment as part of their employment. They also have the right to complain if proper safety procedures are not followed and to request the necessary protective equipment. If a worker decides to be a whistleblower in an attempt to expose serous safety deficiencies in his or her workplace, then he or she has certain rights under the law to prevent wrongful termination and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of employers. Before moving forward with a case, it is imperative that workers know the requirements their employers must follow under the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSH).

Under MIOSH, employers are required to do the following: provide employees a place of work that does not have recognizable hazards that can cause serious harm or lead to a fatality; follow the rules and standards of the law; post notices to make certain that employees understand how they are protected and what their obligations are; inform the proper authorities if there is a fatality or a hospitalization of three employees or more after an illness or injury during the same incident.

Wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former college president

Particularly with high-profile jobs in Michigan, a termination shortly after a person's hiring is certain to draw attention. Often, these firings have to do with differences of opinion as to how an employee should conduct him or herself and what the employee believed was within the parameters of the job. If the employee ends up losing his or her job, disagreement over the cause of the termination can lead to a wrongful termination lawsuit to determine whether or not there was a violation of employment law. If successful on such a claim, a former employee may garner compensation for his or her damages, as one individual is now trying to accomplish.

A woman who was fired from her job as the president of a Michigan college shortly after her hiring has decided to file a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination. In April, the president was suspended by the school. In May, she was fired. According to the college, she spent $20,000 for several expenses, including a ceremony to celebrate her inauguration, travel that was not connected to the school, and renovations for her office. There were other expenditures that were, in their view, against the rules.

Young employees are entitled to training wage once hired

As summer approaches and young people graduate from school in Michigan, many will be seeking employment, whether full or part time, long or short-term. With the start of a new job also comes the need for training. Some employees might not be aware of their legal rights when it comes to wages during training. If they do not receive what they are entitled to under the law, it could be the basis for a legal filing over a wage claim.

According to the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, workers who are under the age of 20 are required to receive a training wage of at least $4.25 per hour in the first 90 days in which they are employed if certain conditions are met. In order to utilize this law, an employer may not discharge, layoff or displace another employee, reduce the number of hours of an existing employer works, or change an existing employee's benefits or wages in order to hire an employee who will be paid at the training wage. The worker who is receiving a training wage is also allowed to receive overtime. This is one and a half times the hourly pay of $4.25 and comes to $6.38 hourly.

Legal help for employees seeking a class action lawsuit

Workers in Michigan can face issues on the job, regardless of the industry in which they work. There can be contract disputes, breaches of contract, poor treatment of workers, and workplace safety violations, and they can occur in blue collar and white collar jobs. Those employees who believe they have been mistreated as a group should carefully consider the possibility of filing a class action lawsuit.

There are an almost endless number of justifications for a group to consider filing a class action case. What they may not understand is how beneficial it can be to move forward as a group rather than as an individual. With economic hardship a fundamental part of the world today, employees might have to deal with being laid off, their retirement funds being pulled from, and losing their health or retirement benefits. For some workers, the benefits were the reason that they took a job in the first place, making it even more difficult if they face employment disputes and wrongful termination.