this current job market, do you ever wonder if employees still have
The short answer is "Yes." But knowing
what those rights are can be confusing.
Michigan is still an
"At-Will" employment state. This means that without a
specific contract of a specific duration, an employee may be "let
go" with or without cause at any time. The reasons could
include performance, the company's overall profitability (or lack
thereof), or someone simply not fitting in at the company.
Supervisors have been known to do or say things that seem inappropriate
or even unkind, but which don't rise to the level of violating employment
law. It is best to have those situations reviewed within your own
company and you may discuss your rights with an employee-oriented
employment law specialist to make sure that you are following proper
procedure and taking appropriate action for any alleged wrongdoing by the
If the inappropriate behavior rises
to the level of discrimination or wrongful termination, then there are
laws to protect you. The following Federal Statutes may provide you
with some legal remedies: Family Medical Leave Act, The Whistleblower's
Protection Act, Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, Persons With
Disabilities Civil Rights Act, and Federal anti-discrimination statutes
(Title VII and ADA). Additionally, the Worker's compensation laws in
each State may address some of your concerns. If you suspect you
were treated unfairly, inappropriately, or even illegally, it is best to
discuss your specific facts with an experienced employee-oriented
employment law specialist. While general laws are in place to
protect the many, lawsuits often boil down to the infringement of
individual rights of a few.
Tips for Employers: If
you haven't had your employee handbook updated in awhile, or perhaps
never had an employee handbook, it would be advisable to talk with
an employer- oriented employment law specialist to find out whether
you are operating in accordance with current laws and practices. If
you are, great. If not, they can probably bring you up to
There are laws and procedures which
need to be followed by companies when it comes to termination of
employees from employment, handling private information of employees, and
offering/terminating benefits of employees. The size of your
company and number of employees may dictate some of these procedures,
based upon applicable law. Again, when it doubt, consult with an
employment law specialist.
Tips for Employees: As
your employment circumstances change, stay in touch with your
advisors. An attorney, CPA, financial advisor, career coach, and/or
benefits specialist may all have valuable insight for you during your
Should you need any of these or other
professional resources, feel free to contact me.
All my best,
Lori T. Williams, Esq.
Lori Williams, a 20 year attorney,
takes the guess work out of finding the right lawyer!