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November 4, 2020

New Michigan Law Protects Employees Coping With COVID-19

On October 22, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Public Act 238, which establishes important new protections for workers coping with COVID-19. The law applies to employees in both the private and public sectors, but does not apply to first responders, health care workers, and certain other specified employees.
Home » News » New Michigan Law Protects Employees Coping With COVID-19

Wed, 11/04/2020

On October 22, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Public Act 238, which establishes important new protections for workers coping with COVID-19. The law applies to employees in both the private and public sectors, but does not apply to first responders, health care workers, and certain other specified employees.

The law has two key features: First, it prohibits an employee from reporting to work if he or she, or someone he or she has had close contact with, either tests positive for COVID-19, or displays the principal symptoms of COVID-19. To report to work, an employee must meet certain specified conditions.

If an employee either tests positive, or displays symptoms, then he or she cannot report to work until three conditions are met: (1) if the employee has a fever, 24 hours have passed since the fever stopped without the use of fever-reducing medications; (2) 10 days have passed since the date symptoms first appeared, or the date the employee received a positive test, whichever is later; and (3) the employee’s symptoms have improved.

If someone an employee has had close contact with either tests positive, or displays symptoms, then the employee cannot report to work until one of two conditions are met: (1) 14 days have passed since the employee last had close contact with the individual; or (2) the individual receives a medical determination that he or she did not have COVID-19 at the time of the close contact with the employee.

The law’s second key feature is that it prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee who complies with the law’s stay-home requirement, opposes a violation of the law, or reports health violations related to COVID-19. An employee who is aggrieved by an employer’s violation of the law may sue for damages or injunctive relief. If an employee prevails in a legal action, the court is required to award damages of at least $5,000. The law is retroactive to March 1, 2020, so employees may sue employers for past violations.

For more resources about employee rights related to COVID-19, please read our Coronavirus Information. If you are an employee coping with COVID-19, and believe your rights may have been violated, please contact us.

Legal Representation for All Workers

When McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP decides to take your case, it is because we believe there is an unacceptable workplace violation that has negatively impacted you or resulted in your employer paying less than what the law requires and which we have a reasonable chance of remedying. We recognize that meritorious claims should not go unremedied because of the level of a person’s resources.

To ensure accessible and available legal representation for all our clients, MSE handles cases through different forms of fee arrangements, including contingency fees, hourly fees and fixed fees.

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