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Detroit Employment Law Blog

What you need to know about employment contracts

If your career is on an upward trajectory, eventually you will earn a new opportunity that brings with it something you haven't encountered: an employment contract.

Employment contracts are serious business that can have far-reaching effects on you, your career and your family. With that in mind, here are questions that many people have about employment contracts.

Things you may not know about age-based workplace discrimination

Many people in the modern world think that they cannot be surprised any longer. Being a worldly and knowledgeable society, it is easy to see why people think this way. However, there are several key points about age-related workplace discrimination in Michigan and elsewhere that may actually astonish you.

Why is it important to know about these points? It is important because knowledge is always the best way to begin making changes. With that lofty goal in mind, here are some surprising things about age-based workplace discrimination in America.

  • Employers may still legally ask you about your age.
  • According to a study, workers over the age of 50 are typically more engaged in their jobs than younger workers are.
  • In 2009, a Supreme Court ruling made it so that plaintiffs have a "higher burden of proof" for age-related discrimination than is required for other types of workplace discrimination.
  • When asked, eight out of 10 older Americans say Congress should make stronger anti-age discrimination laws.
  • Age-related workplace discrimination is 100 percent against the law in all of the United States.
  • More than one in five of the workplace discrimination complaints received by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) involve age discrimination.

Whistleblower lawsuit in Michigan township is finally settled

You have probably heard about the recent whistleblower suit targeting Michigan's Clay Township. The case received a great deal of press throughout 2017. A recent report indicates that the suit involving Clay Township and former Fire Chief, Daryl DuPage, has finally been resolved.

For those who have not been following the case, in 2016 Mr. DuPage asserted that the township had been fraudulently misusing its SAFER Grant. He also raised concerns about overtime pay for Clay's firefighters. After bringing these issues to light, the township terminated Mr. DuPage in January in what he alleged was a wrongful manner. As you might expect, the township responded by saying Mr. DuPage's allegations had nothing to do with his discharge.

Facts about the gender wage gap in Michigan

Did you know that women workers in Michigan earn, on average, only 74 cents for each dollar that their male counterparts earn? In fact, the gender wage gap in Michigan is larger than the national average wage gap, which stands at 82 cents for women for each dollar earned by male workers.

The research used to identify the state's gender wage gap involved men and women who worked full time on a year-round basis. Clearly, Michigan still has a long way to go in eliminating workplace discrimination concerning the wages women earn compared with their male counterparts. Other facts about the pay discrepancy between male and female Michigan workers include:

  • Michigan's gender-based wage gap is the ninth largest in the nation.
  • Twice as many male workers than female workers earn six-figure incomes.
  • The wage gap exists in Michigan across all educational levels from workers with no high school diploma to workers with graduate degrees.
  • The gender wage gap gets larger as workers move into middle age.
  • Men and women receive contrasting pay across different industries even after adjusting for experience and education.
  • The wage gaps varies according to race with Asian women earning the least at only 79.2 percent of what male workers earn.

A snapshot of county-wide corruption uncovered by whistleblowers

It may be difficult to believe that wrongdoing could corrupt practically an entire county, but if the media is to be believed, it has happened right here in Michigan. The county is Macomb and the corruption scandal has already resulted in charges filed against 16 defendants.

We decided to talk a little about the ongoing Macomb County corruption scandal in order to show how even just one whistleblower can lead to an in-depth investigation of illegal and unethical activities. So far, the scandal has shown that many of the county's elected officials have allegedly accepted bribes of cash and favors in exchange for helping these businesses win contracts.

Was I fired in violation of my employment contract?

When you started your job, you may have signed a special employment contract that dictates the circumstances under which your employment may be terminated. Some of these contracts could leave the issue of "employment termination" open-ended. Others might be general and say that you must be terminated "for cause." Others might reiterate the current Michigan laws related to firings.

If you've been fired, and you suspect that the termination was unfair, the first thing you'll want to do is determine whether you've entered into an employment contract. Your employment contract could be written and it could be oral.

Is subtle workplace bias really discrimination?

There are still cases of blatant workplace discrimination in the United States, even though it's illegal. It may not be quite as obvious as hanging signs on the door telling people of certain ethnic groups not to apply, but supervisors will say and do things based on their own biases.

What some legal experts note is a bit more confusing, though, is when the bias is subtle. It can be hard to tell if the supervisor is discriminating or not.

Michigan is the only state with weight discrimination laws

In this day and age, the notion of workplace discrimination based on weight is inconceivable to many Michigan residents. Unfortunately, it is a problem across the entire United States. Two studies conducted within the past decade reveal a surprising and disturbing pattern in this little known area of workplace discrimination.

In 2008, researchers with Yale University conducted a study highlighting the problem of weight-based workplace discrimination. The study revealed that 5 percent of male workers and 10 percent of female workers have suffered weight discrimination such as being turned down for work. Another study by Vanderbilt University showed that across a wide variety of industries, overweight women receive less pay than their male colleagues do.

Women executives and employment contracts in Michigan

There is no denying that women and employment legislation have come a very long way in the executive realm. Despite these ongoing improvements to the nation's employment laws, gender inequality in the executive workplace remains both controversial and concerning.

Women of today enjoy the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder and find a place among male executives. However, many women still lag behind their male counterparts in terms of pay, equal rights, job advancement and other key areas.

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