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Michigan Employment Law

It may feel like workers are at a disadvantage when an employer does something that directly affects their livelihood. If you’re a fast food worker in Detroit and you notice your manager pocketing cash from the register, you might not call him out on it for fear of getting fired. Maybe you didn’t get hired for that Kalamazoo sales representative position because the company is largely Christian and you’re Muslim.

But be assured that you are not powerless. Michigan workers have rights under employment law that empower them against unfair business practices.

Employment law covers a multitude of topics, including worker’s compensation, workplace discrimination, vacation and overtime, unemployment benefits and more. Your employment dispute is often affected by federal, state and local laws simultaneously. Michigan employment law attorneys are experienced with the delicacy and complexity of work-related cases and can help protect your rights.

Common Michigan Employment Law Issues

Getting fired or let go from your job can leave you emotional and looking for justice. Michigan is an at-will employment state, meaning that your employer could terminate you for any reason at any time. However, your employer can be held accountable for your termination if their motivation violated state or federal law.

For instance, if you were fired because your coworker harassed you and you reported it to your manager, you could have a wrongful termination case.

Wrongful termination is a common employment law issue in Michigan. Employers usually wrongfully terminate their workers in retaliation for lawful employee conduct that may harm unlawful business practices. They also wrongfully terminate workers for discriminatory or personal reasons.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, the Michigan Whistleblowers Protection Act and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission define laws that protect employee rights from discrimination and retaliation in wrongful termination cases.

Michigan Minimum Wage

As of January 2017, Michigan’s state minimum wage is $8.90/hour. The minimum wage will increase again to $9.25/hour by January 2018 as a result of the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act.

Earning Overtime in Michigan

Most Michigan employees can earn overtime pay rate of time and a half for working over 40 hours in a week or more than eight hours a day. Certain employees are exempt from receiving overtime, including:

  • Employees who work for companies with less than two employees.
  • Managers, executives, professionals and other highly paid employees in general. Professionals include doctors, teachers, lawyers and other workers who earned specialized degrees. Not all managers are exempt from overtime pay.
  • Restaurant servers
  • Salespeople
  • Computer workers
  • Politicians

For a complete list of exempted workers, see the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act § 408.414a, subsection 4.

Get Help from a Michigan Employment Attorney

If you or a loved one is involved in an employment law dispute, it’s in your best interests to consult with an attorney. Employment law is a broad, complicated legal area with federal and state laws at play. An experienced Michigan employment law attorney can help protect your legal rights.

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