Michigan Employment Law Update – January 2019

Michigan

Governor Signs Executive Directives to Protect Public Employees

On January 18, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive directives (E.D. 2019-09 and 2019-10) providing both expanded and new protections to employees of state departments and autonomous agencies subject to supervision by the Governor (state agencies).

E.D. 2019-09 expands the current discrimination protections by requiring that state contracts, grants, and loans prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity or expression discrimination as a term to contractual agreements. The former directive did not include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as protected classes; however, it did (and the current directive continues) to prohibit discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, marital status, partisan considerations, disability, or genetic information.

E.D. 2019-10 prohibits state agencies from:

  • Inquiring about an applicant’s current or previous salaries before making a conditional job offer, which must include an explanation of proposed compensation (with pay).
  • Asking an applicant’s current or prior employer, or searching public records databases, to ascertain the applicant’s current or previous salary.

Agencies must also take reasonable measures to avoid inadvertently discovering salary history while gathering other information about an applicant. Any information unintentionally discovered relating to an applicant’s salary history must not be used in an employment decision.

E.D. 2019-10 does permit agencies to request and verify an applicant’s current or previous compensation information before making a conditional offer of employment with pay, but only if the applicant voluntarily provides the information or if verification is legally required. Applicants may volunteer information about compensation, but their refusal to volunteer compensation information must not be considered in an employment decision. Lastly, agencies in possession of an applicant’s compensation information on January 18, 2019 may not use that information in any employment decision unless required to by law or a collective-bargaining agreement.

These executive directives took effect on January 18, 2019.

Read E.D. 2019-09 and E.D. 2019-10

Equal Pay for Equal Work

On January 8, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive (E.D. No. 2019-10) directing state departments and autonomous agencies (public employers) to not:

  • Inquire about a job applicant’s current or previous salaries unless and until they first make a conditional offer of employment, including an explanation of proposed compensation.
  • Make inquiry of a current or prior employer or search public records databases to ascertain an applicant’s current or previous salary.

Additionally, the directive states that public employers:

  • Must take reasonable measures to avoid inadvertently discovering salary history while gathering other information about an applicant. Information unintentionally discovered relating to an applicant’s salary history must not be used by the department or agency in an employment decision.
  • May request and verify current or previous compensation information for a job applicant before a conditional offer of employment that includes compensation information, but only if the applicant voluntarily provides the information or if verification is required by applicable law.
  • If in possession of a job applicant’s compensation information on the effective date of this directive, the public employers must not use that information in any employment decision unless required to by law or a collective-bargaining agreement.

Job applicants may volunteer information about compensation, but their refusal to do so must not be considered in an employment decision.

The directive became effective on January 8, 2019.

Read the directive

Paid Medical Leave Act

On December 13, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation (S.B. 1175) entitled the Paid Medical Leave Act, which significantly modified the state’s Earned Sick Time Act (set to be effective April 1, 2019). Under the new Paid Medical Leave Act, employers with 50 or more employees must provide paid medical leave to eligible employees for personal or family health needs, as well as purposes related to domestic violence and sexual assault. The act also specifies the conditions for accruing and using paid medical leave, posting requirements, and remedies and sanctions for violations.

The act is effective March 29, 2019.

Read MI S.B. 1175