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4 facts about Michigan employment law that might surprise you

“Employment law” consists of federal and state laws, rules and regulations, plus precedent from court decisions.

Here are four facts about Michigan employment law that you might not be aware of.

You can see your personnel file. Have you ever wondered what’s in your personnel file? Michigan law says employees can read and make copies of their personnel file. The Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act:

  • Gives most employees the right to review their personnel records
  • Provides criteria for the review
  • Specifies the information that can be contained in personnel records;
  • Allows employees to respond with their own comments; and
  • Sets penalties for violations

No state agency enforces the Bullard-Plawecki Act. Contact an attorney if you need help. 

Discrimination based on weight or height is illegal in Michigan. The state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which became law in 1976, prohibits discrimination based on weight or height. It's believed Michigan is the only state that specifically prohibits weight or height discrimination. The act also forbids discrimination based on race, disability, color, age, religion, sex, national origin or marital status.

The "felony box" is not allowed on initial applications for state government jobs. In September, Gov. Rick Snyder banned the practice of asking applicants about their criminal histories. The ban applies to initial applications; the state can check applicants' histories later in the hiring process. Gov. Snyder said it's important to give felons the opportunity to be successful as they return to society. He wants to set an example for private employers, and he hopes they follow his lead.

Not all employers are required to make accommodations for people with disabilities. An accommodation is not necessary if it would: require significant difficulty or expense, impose undue financial administrative burdens or require a fundamental alteration of the work. Also, employers with 15 or fewer employees are not required to change a process or an employee's schedule as an accommodation. 

Do you have questions?

If you would like more information about how the law applies to you, contact an attorney who has experience in employment law.

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