Best human resources practices for writing and enforcing policies in the workplace.

Fraudulent unemployment claims on the rise in Michigan

There have been reports of unemployment fraud over the past few years, but it has become even become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent financial crisis.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is reporting a recent increase in these activities, with some criminals posing as self-employed workers or independent contractors to illegally obtain unemployment benefits.

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From our CEO: Thanks in a time of COVID

The COVID-19 crisis rages on and, as an essential provider, we continue to work hard while our small-to-medium business clients suffer in one of the more difficult domiciles: Michigan.

We are fortunate to have some of our clients designated as essential, while others found creative ways to be essential during this battle with the virus. I am very thankful as a business owner, because this provided revenue for us to operate.

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Questions addressed about temporary layoffs

This is a challenging time for both employers and employees, as we all navigate changes from the impact of the coronavirus and COVID-19. Here, we respond to some questions from employers about recent legislation and handling specific situations in the workplace:

What programs are currently available to assist my employees during our temporary layoff?
At the current time, your employees can file for unemployment compensation online. On the state of Michigan coronavirus website there are additional quick links for additional community resources.

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Some COVID-19 basics: Tips for business

Many people are feeling overwhelmed by the deluge of information regarding COVID-19, the disease that develops in some people through exposure to the novel coronavirus that is being seen around the world.

Although information is constantly changing, we are monitoring alerts and updates from the Centers for Disease Control, and will continue to update to you regarding significant changes as related to the workplace.

We find this link from the CDC to be helpful: CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions offered for employers

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The law firm of Dickinson Wright offers basic tips for employers about the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Read more below or see the original post here. (Republished with permission, with updates from the CDC noted below).

It is now impossible to avoid the reality that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, the “coronavirus”), is a “public health emergency of international concern,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the risk assessment is currently considered low for most residents, the widespread transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. “would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time” which could result in significant adverse consequences, including disruption of the American workforce.

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Considering non-compete agreements? Put them in place before hiring or promoting

Recently, Apple brought a case against a manager who allegedly established a competing business during company time. Most company owners would agree that’s not an acceptable way for managers to spend time at work.

What, if anything, can a company do to prevent those situations, and what can they do if a situation like that arises?

Once a situation arises where a company suspects someone will take, or is taking client contacts, employee lists or company trade secrets with them, you may be too late to impact the situation. A decision to use non-solicitation, non-compete or confidentiality agreements should be put in place long before the company needs one.

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Gossip can be costly and disrupt your workplace

Gossip in the workplace is disruptive and can be costly to businesses by reducing productivity. So what should you do when you discover that an employee is gossiping?

Conversations that are negative about others, or are intended to elevate the gossiper, rarely have a positive outcome and can be a form of workplace bullying. Whether it is about another employee or the company, it is important that this toxic behavior is addressed immediately and be disciplined if necessary.

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How employers should approach at-will employment

At-will employment means that either employer or employee can end an employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and with or without explanation.

But employers should beware of using it in the same way in all situations. At-will employment is not a one-size-fits-all solution for employers parting ways with an employee. Employers must comply with all federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. And employers firing an employee in a protected case should tread carefully if citing at-will employment as the separating reason.

Michigan, as well as many other states, recognize at-will employment status although some states have exceptions for public policy or implied contract.

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Rising popularity of vaping raises new issues in the workplace

The first time I heard about vaping was during a conversation with my teenage kids a few years ago. I was surprised to hear them say “everyone does it!” What exactly is it? The definition of vaping is “the action or practice of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.” Seems harmless, but is it?

Although smoking has been banned from most workplaces for a long time, vaping now presents new issues for employers as well as society in general. Should this smoking alternative be allowed at work and treated like cigarettes?

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The Sixth Circuit offers employers guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act’s ‘Interactive Process’

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On November 30, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a published decision, offered guidance to employers regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (“ADA”) “interactive process” and what conduct may render the employer liable under the ADA.

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