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COVID -19 EMPLOYMENT LAW INSIGHTS AND RESOURCES

The COVID-19 Outbreak is presenting many challenges for the Michigan workplace.  Yet the law and circumstances are changing almost daily.  We are regularly monitoring and updating workplace rights resources we have found helpful.  Additional Blanchard & Walker Resource Pages and Factsheets provide more detailed discussion on specific COVID-19 topics:

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COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT AND PANDEMIC ASSISTANCE RESOURCES

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

As of April 13, 2020, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has begun accepting applications for the broadest category of potential recipients under federal law reforms related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the various federal reforms, most Michigan workers who face job loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic should be eligible to receive unemployment benefits including a $600 per week federal supplement on top of basic benefits regularly provided by the state system. Continue reading “COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT AND PANDEMIC ASSISTANCE RESOURCES”

Pizza Delivery Drivers Shorted on Vehicle Reimbursements Achieve Class Settlement in Largest Michigan Lawsuit of its Kind   

Pizza franchises take a slice out of every driver’s pay.

Final approval of the $650,000 settlement package clears the way for the largest known class action settlement of its kind in Michigan – covering ten Hungry Howie’s franchise locations in Mid-Michigan. The Pizza Driver Lawsuits alleged a common complaint among drivers in the industry – that systematic under-reimbursement for mileage and vehicle expenses violates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Michigan Minimum Wage laws.  Even while consenting to the settlement, the pizza stores continue to deny liability and deny that they underpay drivers for their vehicle expenses.

Continue reading “Pizza Delivery Drivers Shorted on Vehicle Reimbursements Achieve Class Settlement in Largest Michigan Lawsuit of its Kind   “

RETURN-TO-WORK: WORKPLACE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS DURING COVID-19

Ten Steps all Workplaces Can take to Prevent COVID-19 Exposure

Many Michigan workers are being asked to report to work, either because their employer has determined they support critical infrastructure, they are other essential employees, or otherwise reopened for business.  These include health care workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure businesses. But also grocery store workers, landscapers and construction workers in regional reopened businesses.  For those who are out at work in public during the COVID-19 outbreak, effective workplace safety is a great concern. Discrimination or retaliation for raising workplace safety concerns is illegal. Continue reading “RETURN-TO-WORK: WORKPLACE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS DURING COVID-19”

STANDING UP FOR COVID-19 WORKPLACE SAFETY WHISTLEBLOWERS

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Azanean Petty was forced to choose between her safety and her job at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility when her employer denied her request to wear a protective mask while working in an environment with insufficient sanitation measures and inadequate social distancing. Ms. Petty was forced to hand in her resignation after she spoke up about safety concerns and refused to work without a mask for the protection of herself, the juvenile detainees, and the other employees in the facility.

Her attorney Angela Walker filed the Whistleblower Lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court.  “Although the facility had apparently received N-95 masks for their employees, they told my client she was not allowed to wear it inside where the inmates are housed Continue reading “STANDING UP FOR COVID-19 WORKPLACE SAFETY WHISTLEBLOWERS”

COVID -19 EMPLOYMENT LAW INSIGHTS AND RESOURCES

The COVID-19 Outbreak is presenting many challenges for the Michigan workplace.  Yet the law and circumstances are changing almost daily.  We are regularly monitoring and updating workplace rights resources we have found helpful.  We are updating this material as it becomes available.  Keep in mind this is not intended to be legal advice.  Legal rights in any individual case need to be evaluated in consultation with an attorney.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND COVID-19

As of April 13, 2020, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has begun accepting applications for the broadest category of potential recipients under federal law reforms related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading “COVID -19 EMPLOYMENT LAW INSIGHTS AND RESOURCES”

COVID-19 and Employment Law Practices – Q&A with Angela Walker

Attorney Angela Walker on COVID-19, advising employees, and the practice of law. This article was originally prepared for the Institute for Continuing Legal Education March 27, 2020.  The original post can be found here.

Angela Walker is a founding partner at Blanchard & Walker PLLC. Angela handles severance negotiations and career strategies for her clients. She has extensive experience with equal pay, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and disability rights cases. Here, Angela shares some of her thoughts on practicing during this time, as well as her analysis of some of the biggest issues facing employees. Continue reading “COVID-19 and Employment Law Practices – Q&A with Angela Walker”

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

MDHHS: What should you do if you think you have been exposed?

Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak as legal professionals means constant monitoring so that we can provide clients and callers with the most up-to-date information and advice possible.   The  Families First Coronavirus Response Act has temporarily expanded paid leave rights in two important ways: creating a paid sick leave benefit for certain workers affected by the outbreak and a 12 week paid caregiver leave for parents caring for minor children during school closures.  How does it work? Continue reading “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”

THE COURTS AND COVID-19

Michigan Courts and COVID-19

The Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-6 encouraging the use of technology, use of video conferencing to keep state courts functioning throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.  The new order on April 7 is in part a rollback of Administrative Order 2020-2 on March 18, 2020.  The Orders  supersede certain local administrative orders attempting to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak on a courthouse-by-courthouse basis.

Administrative Order 2020-09 temporarily amends Court Rules to require service of process by electronic means to the fullest extent possible, and explicitly allowing subpoenas to require attendance by telephone or remote conferencing systems.  The running catalog of Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Orders in the Covid-19 outbreak is available here. 

Michigan Court Deadlines Resume

Under Administrative Order 2020-16 beginning Monday, June 8, 2020 the periods for all filings, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional, in the Courts shall resume. For time periods that started before AO No. 2020-4 took effect, the filers shall have the same number of days to submit their filings on June 8, 2020, as they had when the tolling went into effect.

Federal Courts and COVID-19

Other COVID-19 Related Court Resources

Michigan Workers and COVID-19: Updates and Resources

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits

Michigan Unemployment Benefits Expanded in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

Confronting the COVID-19 outbreak has raised many questions among Michigan Workers, many are struggling with unique job interruption issues: lay-offs, work-stoppages, individual medical leave, or caregiver leave. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order late Monday expanding or confirming unemployment eligibility for Michigan workers impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Continue reading “Michigan Workers and COVID-19: Updates and Resources”