Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be fired for taking medical leave?

If you work for a company with 50 or more employees, and you have been employed for at least 12 months, you may be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of protected time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  This does not entitle you to paid leave, but it does entitle you to job protection and continuation of benefits while you are on leave.  You have a right to be free of retaliation for using FMLA leave, which means that you cannot be fired for exercising your FMLA rights.  If you are not eligible for FMLA leave, you may still have the right to take medical leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (“PDCRA”), depending on the circumstances of your situation and whether it poses undue hardship for your employer.

What type of accommodations are employers required to provide to employees with disabilities?

If you have a serious health condition that is impacting your job, you may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (“PDCRA”).  Reasonable accommodations may include part-time or flex-time schedules, modifying office furniture or equipment, relocating the employee’s workspace (including work-from-home arrangements), job reassignment, short-term leave, and many other things.  Employers are not required to provide accommodations that pose an undue hardship.  Accommodations must be considered on a case-by-case basis, and the employer is required to engage in an interactive process with the employee to determine how best to accommodate.

Can I be asked about my health history during a job interview?

No.  According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employers are not permitted to make pre-employment inquiries about the existence of a disability or the nature or severity of a disability.  This applies even if the disability is obvious or if the applicant volunteers information about the disability.  Furthermore, an employer may not ask a job applicant to take a medical examination before making a job offer.  However, they may ask questions about the prospective employee’s ability to perform specific job functions.  Employers may condition a job offer on the satisfactory result of a post-offer medical examination, but only if this is required of all entering employees.

 

My employer wants me to submit to an independent medical exam. Can I be required to do this?

It depends on the reason for the request.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires that all medical examinations or inquiries must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.  For instance, employers are permitted to make medical examinations or inquiries where there is evidence of a job performance or safety problem.  Also, employers are permitted to make medical examinations or inquiries in order to assess whether an employee needs an accommodation.  If the employee provides insufficient documentation from his or her treating physician, the employer may in some instances require that the employee submit to anindependent medical exam.

FROM THE BLOG
  • Pizza Delivery Drivers Shorted on Vehicle Reimbursements Achieve Class Settlement in Largest Michigan Lawsuit of its Kind    July 4, 2020
    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.

    (more…)

  • COVID -19 EMPLOYMENT LAW INSIGHTS AND RESOURCES June 3, 2020

    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:

    (more…)

  • RETURN-TO-WORK: WORKPLACE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS DURING COVID-19 May 27, 2020
    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. (more…)