General Employment Counsel
Guidance Designed For Business.
Zamzow Fabian PLLC primarily assists employers.
Employees in highly specialized positions, managers and executives, pre-employment contract review, and employees with a contract may seek representation.
We offer a long-term relationship and careful guidance to structure and develop employment strategies.
Business Law heavily overlaps this area of practice, see Zamzow Fabian PLLC's business attorneys for more information.
Employment law is expansive and often litigated.
Our attorneys represent employers and executives.
We provide counsel to the private sector in all aspects of the employer/employee relationship.
We approach each situation in practical terms first, to limits client’s exposure and avoid unnecessary litigation.
Trade secrets may be protected, general knowledge and information that is common to the trade is unprotected; put simply the information must be secret.
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (MCL 445.1901 et seq.) provides a good starting point in determining whether or not your information is protected and how best to guard it from leaching into public domain.
Be certain employees understand what is included in your businesses trade secrets, and obtain an express acknowledgement of confidentiality.
And most importantly take active steps to protect confidential information.
Consult with Zamzow Fabian PLLC on how best to protect your business secrets.
Employee Background Checks
Several employee background documents such as credit reports and educational records are available only if the employee consents.
Ensure employer protection by first obtaining written consent accurately describing the legal authority and document requested.
This will protect the employer’s rights and reduce liability if such employee is later discharged.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 USC 1681 et seq., allows employers to request the credit report of an applicant for specific purposes only.
Before the employee is denied employment, promotion, or reassignment the employer must provide an adverse action disclosure and “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 USC 1681(b)(3)).
The employer must then follow the remaining requirements proscribed at law.
The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (commonly referred to as, ELCRA) prohibits employers from requesting certain records, including certain convictions.
Criminal background checks above all others must be made consistent of all employees and applicants.
However it may not always be wise to adopt a blanket policy of refusing to hire an applicant with a criminal record (Green v. Missouri PR Co, 523 F2d 1290 (8th Cir 1975).
Do not request arrest records.
All documents have specific methods and procedures of requesting and receiving and prohibit specific action from being taken by the employer.
Consult with your corporate counselor to determine the best method of handling applicants and requests of this nature.
Employer Garnishment Administration
Carefully review the recent changes to garnishment statutes prior to administering garnishment.
A Creditor may attach a default judgment against an employer that incorrectly administers a garnishment in Michigan.
Garnishments must be answered timely and accurately once proper notice of the principal action in the form of a judgment is received.
The judgment creditor (plaintiff) may access the debtor’s (defendant’s) paycheck through the garnishee defendant (employer or other third party holding property or money of the debtor).
The writ for garnishment attaches the debtor’s money, property, and earnings.
First, Employers must comply accurately and reliably with the request; failure to follow the strict timetable and procedures may result in costs, default judgment, and contempt of court.
The employer’s side of a garnishment must be taken seriously.
Employers should maintain a tracking system of every document sent and all wages garnished.
Defective service does not need to be waived; order and proper procedure keep the system moving smoothly.
Do not reward incorrect service by waiving Employer rights.
The best way of avoiding mistakes is to follow the law accurately.
Whether the plaintiff forgot the thirty-five-dollar payment to the garnishee (MCL 600.4012(12)), a page of the garnishee disclosure form (MC 14), failed to provide all the required identifying information (MC 12, MCL 600.4011(10)), or failed to provide you with the correct copy, fight for your rights and demand accurate service.
A diligent employer will catch these mistakes, and decrease the likelihood of the plaintiff’s attorney attempting to cut corners.
Zamzow Fabian PLLC is experienced with assisting employers and other garnishee defendants through all levels of potential Michigan garnishment process.
Whether you are an employer, employee, or independent contractor non-competes are common and like many employment contracts benefit both parties.
It is necessary that the employer limits exposure as much as possible with non-competes and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
Equally important for an employee to know ahead of time what he or she may and may not disclose or use later at another employment opportunity.
A customized agreement written by an experienced contract attorney will adequately represent the interests of both employer and employee.
Employees will trust your wisdom by providing them with a well written agreement and feel confident that they understand what they are being paid to do.
Michigan Antitrust Reform Act (MCL 445.771 et seq.) allows employees and employers to enter into agreements design to protect the employer’s “reasonable competitive business interests”.
This act restricts the agreements to be reasonable in duration, geographic scope, and the notion of activity.
Michigan and Federal (different standard) antidiscrimination laws prohibit certain inquiries that elicit or attempts to elicit information concerning the religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status of a prospective employee (MCL 37.2206).
The following areas are highlighted for sensitivity: Address, Age, Arrests and convictions, Birthplace, Citizenship, Disability, Education, Genetic Information, Height/Weight, Marital Status, Children, Name, National Origin, Notice in case of emergency, organization, photograph, race or color, religion or creed, sex, and sexual orientation.
As a general rule, employer should only focus on information necessary to evaluate the qualifications of the potential employee and not on any other information.
And avoid questions that have a likelihood of preemptively blocking women, minorities, and other protected groups.
Generalized Employment Law
Employment law protects employers and employees and governs nearly every aspect of employer-employee relationships. From: Minimum wage standards, Agricultural protections, Child labor practices, Health and Safety, Employee Benefit plans, medical leave, to Lie detector tests, Retaliation of Whistleblowers, Union Members, and Federal Contracts.
Zamzow Fabian PLLC can help you answer your question and solve your problem.
The Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act
Employers should use an attorney, general counsel is ideal, someone who can apprise them of unique and obscure but powerful legislation and laws regarding its relationship with its employees.
MCL 423.501 et seq. provides that employees have specific rights regarding human resources personnel records: (1) the right to review records, (2) right to copy records (at cost), (3) right to file a written response if the employee disagrees.
Employers who fail to comply are subject to an injunction, damages, and reasonable attorney fees.
The process for obtaining your records should be smooth and simple:
-Submit a written request to your employer
-Within the written request identify yourself and your position, as well as other helpful identifying information
-If the employer violates the statute, the employee is entitled to a minimum of $200 damages, plus costs, reasonable attorney fees, and actual damages.
Internet Privacy Protection Act (IPPA)
At the end of 2012 the Michigan Legislature passed a subtle but important law regarding internet accounts and employment (2012 PA 478).
Prior to that time, and still today, employers have requested current and prospective employees to turn over their internet accounts and passwords so they may monitor the activity and character of their employees.
These accounts included, Gmail, Google+ (Google Plus), Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs.
Under this law, an employer may not discharge, discipline, fail to hire, or otherwise penalize an employee or prospective employee whom declines requests for internet accounts.
Employers may still: (1) Require that an employee grants access to electronic devises and internet based services paid for in whole or part by the employer.
(2) Discipline or discharge an employee for transferring proprietary information, and require cooperation in investigations regarding such information.
(3) Restrict specific internet access on an employers network in accordance with state and federal law.
(4) Take actions for screening required and allowable under securities law (Securities Act of 1934).
(5) View and access public information on an employee and take action on such information.
Several other states have legislation similar to this, including California (Cal. AB-1844 Ch. 618), Connecticut (Gen. Stat.§ 31-48d), Delaware (Del. Code § 19-7-705), Tennessee (Tenn. Code § 10-7-512), Colorado (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-204.5 ), Illinois (Public Act 097-0875), Maryland (HB 964 Ch. 234), and Wisconsin (2013 Wis. Act 208).