The HR Specialist: Michigan Employment Law

An administrative law judge has ruled the township of Leoni violated the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) when it terminated Benjamin Brzezinski for refusing to enter a sewer he felt was unsafe.

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There’s a silver lining to the rising number of employment lawsuits: Courts are losing patience with applicants, employees and former employees who file discrimination lawsuits that have no basis in reality. Recently, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals approved sanctions against such employees and their attorneys.

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The FMLA grants eligible employees the right to take time off to deal with their own or a covered relative’s serious health condition. What has been unclear until now is what happens when an employee rushes to the emergency room believing a true medical emergency exists, only to find out that the condition was less serious than originally believed.

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Pay disparities between men and women are in the news. Here’s how to find out whether you’re in danger of being sued: Take all your employees working in the same classification, divide them into male and female groups and then determine each sex’s average salary.

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Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to return to their former jobs, or at least equivalent ones in terms of pay, responsibilities and the like. Ignoring that requirement and making job changes is the quickest way to an FMLA lawsuit.

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When two workers complained to two co-workers that their employer wasn’t providing protective gear while they installed insulation, it started a chain of events that led to their firings.

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Laid off or fired employees often have to resort to bankruptcy when their economic situations tank. What they often forget, however, is that they must list in that bankruptcy filing any pending litigation that could net them cash. If they don’t, and their debts are discharged, they can be barred from suing you.

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A Michigan employer has learned a tough lesson: Ignore the U.S. Department of Labor at your peril. Its employees won their lawsuit—even though they had no proof of wrongdoing—simply because the employer ignored the DOL’s request for records and failed to show up in court.

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Shortly before Genesee County reorganized Dennis Goodman’s department, Goodman, a white motor pool administrator, received an e-mail containing an alleged racially biased remark. When the re-org happened, Goodman lost his job. He filed suit under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, alleging racism caused his termination …

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Louay Kezy, a former stockroom clerk at a Wal-Mart store in Dearborn, has filed a $12 million lawsuit claiming he was harassed and fired because of his Arab and Muslim heritage. Kezy, who worked at the store from March to August 2008, claims that co-workers made terrorist jokes and hostile remarks such as “We hate you all” …

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