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Michigan and Ohio Legal News Blog

Nassar Survivors Still Have Time for Claims Against MSU!

Michigan State University has agreed to open a $75 Million Settlement Fund for remaining victims of Larry Nassar - but time is of the essence! Survivors who have not yet filed a lawsuit have a deadline of September 10, 2018, to claim compensation from MSU. Michigan State University is being held liable for allowing Nassar's sexual abuse to have continued since 1997, when they first had notice of his conduct. The Michigan Legislature has specially extended the statute of limitations to aid survivors, but they must act fast. Suits must be filed before September 10, 2018 or be forever lost.

Can my employer fire me for using medical marijuana?

Marijuana, medical and otherwise, is causing a pattern of indecision among employers. Historically, most employers require a drug test before hiring candidates. Some also do spot tests during employment or following a safety incident. But as the number of medical marijuana card carriers increases, Michigan employers face whether to remain zero-tolerance or create progressive rules for drug policies.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act “does not place any limits or restrictions on workplace drug testing, regardless of whether an employee may lawfully use medical marijuana.” Termination could unfortunately be in your future if you fail a drug test. Even if you carry a marijuana card, you may have violated your employer’s drug policy.

#MeToo includes #AllOfUs

The #MeToo movement started in 2017 with a group of actresses coming forward about the misdeeds of movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Most observers would agree that one of the most positive results has been that the long-existing issue of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace against women is now high in the public consciousness. It's important to acknowledge, however, that women alone don't make up the victim population.

No one can say for certain how many men are in the same boat. Officials with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who track complaints say many male victims don't file complaints out of uncertainty or fear. But one recent CNBC survey found that 10 percent of men have reported being victims of improper conduct. At the same time, the EEOC says nearly one in every five complaints received come from men.

Workers are becoming less empowered

The author of this piece "The Roberts Court Protects the Powerful for a New Gilded Age" by Jedediah Purdy, a professor at Duke Law School, puts recent Supreme Court decisions in stark terms. Workers are becoming less empowered, and the Supreme Court is actually removing the power of state governments to do something about it. Moreover, the Court is reading contracts in insane ways that strip workers of rights. I agree with the author's assessment. 

“Maternal wall:” Fighting ingrained bias at the workplace

When bias prevents mothers from professional advancement, it has been coined the “maternal wall.” It has a huge impact on who gets the senior leadership positions. This bias against working mothers is receiving more attention. It was the subject of at least one front page New York Times piece in the last month.

While motherhood is not itself a protected class, any discrimination related to pregnancy is a form of gender discrimination. And many mothers of babies and toddlers find that sick leave doesn't always cover days home with ear infections, fevers, hand foot mouth outbreaks at daycare and/or medical appointments. If an employer threatens termination or takes away important projects in retaliation, it may be classified as family-responsibilities discrimination.

Protecting Vulnerable Employees

It is routine for companies to hire contractors to perform janitorial work. Those companies, or the companies they in turn subcontract to, are frequently the sort of "fly by night" firms that may disappear quickly without paying all wages owed. Workers often have no one left to sue, and the State Government labor departments have no power to help.

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