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Michigan and Ohio Legal News Blog

Corruption in the bargaining process

If you haven't been following this tale of corruption, this article, "FCA spent $15K on steak dinners for UAW", in The Detroit News, lays out the main point. Just like salespeople woo their customers, Chrysler executives wooed UAW leaders with meals and gifts before a contract negotiation. It would be like the Ohio State football coaches buying meals and gifts for the Michigan players before the game. It doesn't smell right.

Can you be fired for marijuana use in Michigan?

Last week, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults over the age of 21. Anything in public places remains illegal. Smoking in a driveway or front porch is off limits, but a backyard may be okay unless a neighbor takes offense and files a nuisance complaint.

For the most part, the answer is yes, an employer still has the right to enforce zero tolerance policies and refuse to hire or fire workers who test positive. Nuances could exist however and judges will need to decide cases that fall within gray areas – potentially related to edibles or unsupported accusations of marijuana use/impairment on the job.

We are regionally ranked in the U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2019 edition

NachtLaw, P.C. is pleased to announce that we are regionally ranked in the U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2019 edition. The practice areas and region are as follows:

NachtLaw beats the University of Michigan in federal court

In a decision today, a federal judge ruled Professor Pamela Smock could proceed in her case that she was denied due process because the University punished her without allowing her to cross-examine her accusers. The decision will require the University to change its procedures in investigating and punishing professors. David Nacht states "bureaucrats and administrators have too much power. This lawsuit and this decision help accused professors level the playing field." 

'Tis the season of voluntary buyouts and de-layering

Whatever the corporate euphemism – and the speed with which they change is increasing – these are job cuts no matter the terminology. Some people will be fired. At GM, the company is "rightsizing," hoping to shrink it's salaried workforce by about 7,000.

For the 18,000 employees with more than 12 years of experience, the company is starting with a voluntary buyout. Affected GM workers have about two weeks to decide (November 19th has been the reported decision date). If too few employees accept, the company will begin a round of layoffs. Other automakers are predicted to undertake similar programs. What should you consider when offered a rightsizing voluntary buyout package or de-layering severance package?

Proving unfair evaluations and harassment are based on race

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines race discrimination this way: “treating someone (an employee or applicant) unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race or because of characteristics associated with race.” An associated issue occurs when one’s skin color/complexion is the cause of negative treatment.

Harassment is also unlawful and can include offensive/derogatory remarks, racial slurs and/or displaying offensive symbols. Teasing or offhand comments, when it occurs regularly or is serious, can lead to a hostile or offensive work environment. Employment policies that have a disparate negative impact on one group of people may also be unlawful. How do you connect the dots between negative employment actions and your race or complexion?

No Need to Sacrifice the Safety of a Mother or Baby in Order for a Pregnant Woman to Earn a Living

This powerful article published in the New York Times, "Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination", by Jessica Silver-Greenberg shares the stories of women who have been denied light duty during pregnancy and lost their babies.

Asian Americans are victims of discrimination at Harvard and other Ivy Colleges

This is a very interesting piece, No, Affirmative Action Has Not Made Asian-Americans the 'New Jews', by an academic expert, Jerome Karabel, arguing that Ivy League colleges are not unlawfully discriminating against Asian Americans as alleged in a currently pending lawsuit in Boston. I disagree with it, but it is worth reading.

Are you an at-will employee? Why does the distinction matter?

In an at-will employment relationship, you can be fired at any time for almost any reason (with several exceptions we discuss in this post). On the other hand, you can also quit when you want without having to give notice in most situations.

Both Michigan and Ohio are at-will employment states. That means in the absence of a specific employment contract that you signed prior to starting or on the first day of your employment, you are probably an at-will employee.

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