News Update: Promised Waivers fall short. According to recent reporting, the waiver program was much smaller than promised. Although waivers for 55,000 more claimants is a good step forward, it fell short of the 382,000 promised and as of May 12, 2022 there is still no explanation about when or if more will be coming.
8/26/2022 UPDATE: NEW UIA CLASS ACTION FILED. In the federal court Complaint filed in Kreps v. Michigan UIA, the Plaintiffs represent Michigan Unemployment Claimants who never got the pandemic relief benefits they were promised, and others who had benefits halted based on determinations that are on appeal and have not become final. The Plaintiffs in the Kreps Complaint allege violations of Due Process rights under the US Constitution and also violation of a prior settlement agreement with the Unemployment Agency.
8/11/2022 SAUNDERS UPDATE: JUDGE CONFIRMS BROAD INJUNCTIVE RELIEF. In a new Clarifying Ruling Court of Claims Judge Brock Swartzle reaffirmed that the Court’s Preliminary Injunction extends to halt all Agency overpayment collection activity against all Michigan UI Claimants who are waiting on timely pending protests and appeals. The Injunction will have sweeping impact for many thousands of UI claimants now facing unconstitutional overpayment collection activity.
In the Saunders UIA Class Action Complaint, Blanchard & Walker clients allege Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency is illegally assessing “overpayments” and initiating collection activity against a broad class of UIA claimants who relied on pandemic unemployment assistance in 2020 and 2021. The Saunders lawsuit seeks injunctive and other relief to recover for unlawful collections that violate the Michigan due process rights of UI claimants.
Federal Court Orders Notice to Alro Steel Employees in Nationwide Overtime Lawsuit
Blanchard & Walker sent the court approved notice to 2500+ Alro Steel employees who may have a right to seek recover for off-the-clock uncompensated time at Alro Steel facilities throughout the country. Federal District Court Judge Murphy for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted conditional certification and ordered notice of FLSA rights to opt-in for current and former warehouse employees of Alro Steel Corporation. Continue reading “Working off the Clock – Alro Steel FLSA Overtime Pay Lawsuit”→
On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act. This law is one significant step forward in the fight to end arbitration contracts that deny access to the Courts for violations of fundamental workplace rights.
Read about our client’s struggle in Time Magazine this week. Tamara Brown was denied the right to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and fired for having child care responsibilities. Despite federal law and leave rights, employers who did not keep up with the law have done wrong to so many Michigan workers: fired when they should receive paid leave; forcing working moms to choose between family safety and a right to keep a job. Nobody should be forced to make that choice.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present many challenges for the Michigan workplace. 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:
For those who are working in public during the COVID-19 outbreak, effective workplace safety is a great concern. For everyone’s safety, violations should be reported to local public health departments and appropriate state agencies. Discrimination or retaliation for raising COVID-19 workplace safety concerns is prohibited.