American Society of Employers (ASE) announces partnership with Verifi1 to provide dependent verification services to members

By: American Society of Employers

Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Communications Manager, ASE, 248.223.8040, hnezich@aseonline.org

Livonia, Mich. —February 8, 2018 — The  American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, is pleased to announce it is enhancing its member resources by partnering with Verifi1 to provide verification solutions, including dependent eligibility verification and life event reviews.   The announcement was made by ASE CEO, Mary E. Corrado.

“ASE is proud to partner with Verifi1 and offer our members this unique service now available to employers of any size,” stated Mary E. Corrado, ASE President & CEO.  “In the past this service was cost-prohibitive for small to mid-size employers.  Verifi1 offers an affordable, reliable service that can save our members thousands of dollars.”

Verifi1 customizes the verification process to help companies of all sizes maximize their healthcare spend.  Every dollar saved goes directly to the bottom line. Verifi1 finds an average of 3-8% ineligible dependents during the initial verification, and as much as 17% during ongoing verification programs. With an average amount saved per ineligible dependent exceeding $4,000, this can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for the employer.

“Verifi1 is excited to partner with ASE to bring dependent eligibility verification services to their member companies. As a fellow Michigan based organization with national scope, Verifi1 knows that ASE provides their members the latest innovative solutions. We are pleased to be able to offer our unique health insurance cost containment and risk mitigation platform to ASE’s clients as a further value-added service,” stated Terry Niles, President, Verifi1.

About Verifi1
Verifi1 provides verification solutions and advanced document analysis. Their team has over 15 years of experience working with countless Fortune 500 companies. They understand the unique verification needs from business to business and are continually evolving to ensure those needs are being well taken care of.  Learn more at http://www.verifi1.com/.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization

Celebrating 115 years, the American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.

What in the World? Thinking About Expatriate Benefits…

Author: Ann Marie Olszewski | Marsh & McLennan Agency 

One of the most important steps in a person’s career can be an international assignment. Even relatively small firms, involved in international business or trying to expand their global footprint, may have a need to send employees overseas for weeks, months or years at a time. Along with considerations like housing and compensation, health and welfare benefits are a critical part of the package for expatriates. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Why not simply cover the expatriate under the local insurance plan? Countries providing some level of national health care to their citizens may extend that coverage to foreign workers. Thus, local health insurance could be available. However, this does not mean the quality of care and access to providers will meet the employee’s expectations and needs. In addition, expatriates frequently travel from one country to another, with occasional trips back to the United States, and a local health plan is unlikely to provide coverage outside of a limited geographical area.

An international expatriate health plan will be portable, meaning it provides coverage regardless of the employee’s location. It will also have its own referral network of providers and facilities, which removes the guesswork for the expatriate when determining where to seek care. This is especially valuable for two reasons. First, the expatriate may not speak the local language, making it difficult to assess quality providers and presenting challenges when seeking care. Next, most foreign providers will require payment up-front, but network providers in an expatriate plan may accept negotiated rates and bill the insurance company directly.

  • What is the length of the expected assignment? Employees residing abroad for fewer than six months will not require an actual expatriate health plan. In these cases, short-term medical travel insurance makes more sense, in the event urgent or emergency treatment is required. For example, such plans will cover hospitalization for a heart attack, or an office visit for a bad cough, but not services related to routine wellness or behavioral health.

Short-term medical travel insurance is available from several carriers. These plans may include a variety of associated benefits, including emergency prescription replacement, assistance with lost travel documents, and phone translation services. Coverage could be for a single trip, or for multiple trips within a year.

An employee who will be residing outside the U.S. for six or more months may need an international expatriate health plan providing a broad array of benefits, which closely resembles the coverage he or she had in the home country.

  • How many expatriates require health coverage? If only one employee is being sent on an overseas assignment, then an individual international expatriate policy is probably the only viable option. However, group coverage may be available from some insurers for as few as two expatriates. It makes more sense to have one group expatriate health plan, than to offer several expatriates different individual plans that are inconsistent with each other. It’s also more cost-efficient.

A group expatriate health plan allows the employer to offer the same comprehensive coverage to all expatriates, regardless of their location. In addition, medical underwriting may not be required, which is important if any of the expatriates or their dependents have a pre-existing health condition. (Individual policies will always require medical underwriting, which means coverage could be denied in some cases. The premium could also be increased and/or dollar maximums applied to the expatriate’s particular health condition.)

Finally, maternity coverage may be of interest to younger expatriates. Maternity services will generally be covered in a group plan, with no waiting period, but may be excluded entirely from an individual policy, or be covered only with a higher premium and after an extended waiting period.

  • Are other benefits included in an international expatriate health plan? It will depend on the carrier, the plan elected, and whether coverage is individual or group. An employer may want to add ancillary benefits like dental, vision and life insurance. However, all expatriate health coverage, whether short- or long-term, individual or group, should include emergency medical evacuation. However, be sure to determine whether pre-existing conditions are included in the event of medical evacuation.

The challenges of an overseas assignment are potentially as great as the rewards. A well-crafted international expatriate health plan can go a long way to ensuring the employee’s success while working abroad.

Learn more about MMA Michigan:


Twitter:
@mma_michiganFind out more & join the conversation on social media! #MMAinsights

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mma_michigan

Facebook: @marshmma

We look forward to hearing how we can help!

About Marsh & McLennan Agency – Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, a subsidiary of Marsh, was established in 2008 to meet the needs of midsize businesses in the United States. MMA operates autonomously from Marsh to offer employee benefits, executive benefits, retirement, commercial property & casualty, and personal lines to clients across the United States.

 

UM Dearborn Student Focus Group

By: UM Dearborn

UM Dearborn is running a focus group with HR professionals who hire and/or work with recent undergraduate students to review their HR and Organizational Behavior programs.

The session will be held in the College of Business at UM-Dearborn at 19000 Hubbard Drive in Dearborn on 2/21 from 12-2 (free lunch included).

If you are interested in joining one of the focus groups please contact Jessie Lee, Assistant Professor.

Her email is jhjess@umich.edu and phone number is 313-593-3297.

Michigan Appellate Court Calls for a Conflict Panel to Decide Issue Under Michigan Wages and Fringe Benefits Act

By: Claudia D. Orr

I know some might laugh, but these types of things get me really excited!  First, the Michigan Court of Appeals hardly ever publishes an employment law opinion and, second, it is requesting a conflict panel to revisit a prior ruling. This is exceptionally rare. Moreover, there are very few cases published under the Michigan Wages and Fringe Benefits Act (“WFBA”) and a conflict panel, if assembled, could significantly expand an employee’s right to be free from retaliation.  Let’s see what the issue is in Ramos v Intercare Community Health Network, a 2:1 divided opinion published on January 30, 2018.

Joel Ramos worked for Intercare Community Health Network (“Intercare”) for about two years when he was fired for allegedly submitting a false timesheet.  Ramos filed a complaint with the Wage and Hour Program of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Ramos claimed that, by “accurately” filling out and submitting his timesheet he was exercising a right to receive his wage payment under the [WFBA] and he was discharged unlawfully for exercising that right under the act.  The Wage and Hour Program disagreed, finding that Ramos had not exercised rights under the act and the circuit court upheld its ruling.

The WFBA provides that:  An employer shall not discharge an employee or discriminate against an employee because the employee filed a complaint, instituted or caused to be instituted a proceeding under or regulated by this act, testified or is about to testify in a proceeding, or because of the exercise by the employee on behalf of an employee or others of a right afforded by this act.

MCL 408.483(1) (emphasis added).  The issue was whether an employee’s exercise of his own rights “is the exercise of rights on behalf of ‘an employee’ because he is ‘an employee.’”

Previously, in Reo v Lane Bryant, Inc, 211 Mich App 364 (1995), it was decided that the “employee must be exercising a right afforded by the act on behalf of another employee or other person.  Simply exercising a right on one’s own behalf would not bring an employee within the purview of [MCL 408.483].”  But now, the appellate court concluded that the Reo case was wrongly decided because the word another is not found in the statute. However, it also recognized that it was bound by precedent and therefore affirmed the circuit court’s decision, but called for a conflict panel to reevaluate the issue.

Judge Hoekstra, the dissent, agreed with the majority’s decision to affirm the lower court’s decision, but found no error in the precedent that bound the appellate court’s decision.  First, he noted that only the last clause (“…because of the exercise by the employee on behalf of an employee or others of a right afforded by this act”) was at issue since Ramos had not filed a complaint, testified (or was about to testify) or instituted (or caused a proceeding to be instituted) under the act.  Then, relying on Black’s Law Dictionary he found that the phrase “on the behalf of” means “in the name of, on the part of, as the agent or representative.” Thus, while the statute does not contain the word another, it is clear that there must be some sort of an agency whereby the employee is acting “on behalf of another employee or other person.”  Finding that Reo had been correctly decided and that it has been the rule of law for more than 20 years, Judge Hoekstra found no need to a assemble a conflict panel.

Thus, the rule remains for now that, to be protected from retaliation under the WFBA, an employee must be acting on behalf of another employee and cannot simply turn in his own time card (accurate or not).  There are some other quirks under the WFBA that can be used for the benefit of employers in their personnel policies.  If you aren’t sure how to apply this law favorably for your company, you should consult with an experienced employment attorney, such as the author.

This article was written by Claudia D. Orr, who is Secretary of the Board of Detroit SHRM, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, and an experienced labor/employment attorney at the Detroit office of Plunkett Cooney (a full service law firm and resource partner of Detroit SHRM).  She can be reached at corr@plunkettcooney.com or at (313) 983-4863. For further information go to: http://www.plunkettcooney.com/people-105.html.

Detroit SHRM encourages members to share these articles with others, inside and outside their organization, as long as its name and logo, and the author’s information, is included in the re-post of the article. February 2018.

 

The Six Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness

By: The Michigan Leadership Conference

“The Six Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness”

Date: March 9th, 2018

Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Location: Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport, 8000 Merriman Rd. Romulus, MI

Presented based on the demand from millennials, first-time supervisors and those new to leadership, The Six Competencies of Leadership is an all-day event in which attendees will be able to hear from and engage with six experts in the areas of leadership.

 

Get ready to hear from presenters who will share their insights and experiences in the development and application of effective communication, teambuilding, problem-solving, conflict resolution, developing others and presentation skills.

Learn from the ‘practitioners’ point of view on how to be an effective leader.

Have you been thrown into a leadership role without the proper training? Ready to take your leadership skills to another level? This event will position you with the needed skills to immediately become an effective leader.

Register Today!

 

“The business case for caring: transforming stress and preventing burnout at work”

By: Michigan Wellness Council

Join us for our February 12th Webinar
“The business case for caring: transforming stress and preventing burnout at work”
Heidi Hanna, PhD, Executive Director for the American Institute of Stress

Earn SHRM* credits by joining us on on February 12, 2018 for the webinar The Business Case For Caring: Transforming Stress And Preventing Burnout At Work by Heidi Hanna, PhD, Executive Director for the American Institute of Stress. The old adage, “It’s just work, it’s not personal” is deeply flawed and needs to be changed for companies to thrive. If we want engaged employees, we need to invite their whole selves to work: body, mind and spirit. Business is a personal investment of our time and energy resources, and organizations are primed to support skill development that supports the employee not only while at work, but also at home. In this discussion, Heidi will present a deeper understanding of the impact of stress on health and performance, a realistic and scientifically-supported approach to work/life integration, and specific recommendations for using the workplace as a system to train enhanced resilience through adaptable effectiveness. Register and get your spot!

Presentation Objectives 

  1. Understand the cost of chronic stress on the brain, body and performance
  2. Recognize the primary contributors to perceived stress at work, disengagement and burnout
  3. Identify evidence-based coping factors that improve resilience and adaptable effectiveness and the specific training tools to build new skill sets

*National Association for Business Resources Best and  Brightest Programs is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP®or SHRM-SCP® professional development credits (PDCs). This program is valid for 1.5 PDCs. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.

  1. Want to save on the cost of MWC events? Renew your MWC membership (or become a member) to get discounts.
  2. Plan ahead and register for our other 2018 events.

Enjoy your day!
Contact: Rita Patel, Executive Director

“Immigration Law: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives”

By: LERA

 

Detroit Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) and Labor@Wayne
cordially invites you to its next meeting.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

5:30-7:30 p.m.
Program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for a very timely presentation on Immigration, featuring

  1. Peter Antone, Esq.

Immigration Law: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives

Location:  Westin Southfield Hotel
1500 Town Center, Southfield, MI  48075

Cost:  $30 per person, $5 student rate.  Payment can be made at the event.  Light food and cash bar available.

Please email your RSVP confirmation by February 12, 2018 to lera@cousenslaw.com or call 248-355-2150.


Any questions, please contact Dr. Marick Masters at 313-577-5358 or
marickm@wayne.edu

February 12th Webinar: The business case for caring: transforming stress and preventing burnout at work by Heidi Hanna, PhD, Executive Director for the American Institute of Stress

By: Michigan Wellness Council

 

National Association for Business Resources Best and  Brightest Programs is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP®or SHRM-SCP® professional development credits (PDCs). This program is pending for 1.0 PDC. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.

Date: Monday, February 12, 2018

Schedule:
12:00pm to 1:00 pm

Presentation Objectives:

The old adage, “It’s just work, it’s not personal” is deeply flawed and needs to be changed for companies to thrive. If we want engaged employees, we need to invite their whole selves to work: body, mind and spirit. Business is a personal investment of our time and energy resources, and organizations are primed to support skill development that supports the employee not only while at work, but also at home. This discussion will present a deeper understanding of the impact of stress on health and performance, a realistic and scientifically-supported approach to work/life integration, and specific recommendations for using the workplace as a system to train enhanced resilience through adaptable effectiveness.

Participants will:

  1. Understand the cost of chronic stress on the brain, body and performance
  2. Recognize the primary contributors to perceived stress at work, disengagement and burnout
  3. Identify evidence-based coping factors that improve resilience and adaptable effectiveness and the specific training tools to build new skill sets

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Heidi Hanna is a New York Times bestselling author, Chief Energy Officer and founder of Synergy, a

consulting company providing brain-based health and performance programs to organizations, and the

Executive Director for the American Institute of Stress. As a global speaker, Heidi has been featured at the Fortune Magazine’s Most Successful Women in Business Summit, the ESPN Women in Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table. Her clients have included Microsoft, GE, Google,  Starbucks, Boeing, Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise, Nationwide, the NFL, the PGA Tour, and many more.

For fun, Heidi established a non-profit called Beyond Funny that provides resources related to humor and the brain. She is a frequent lecturer at Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa, and has recently been appointed to a senior faculty position with the Academy for Brain Health and Performance.

Registration:

$15 advance registration (non-members; become a member)

Register now by following this link.

Michigan  Wellness Council (MWC) is a nonprofit whose vision is the health and wellbeing of Michigan employers will be the best in the nation and mission is to inspire implementation of leading workplace wellness strategies through thought-leadership and education.

Contact: Rita Patel rita.patel@michiganwellnesscouncil.org

Should You Sigh in Relief When the Employee Resigns and Signs a Release? Maybe Not…

By: Claudia D. Orr

I just read a decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals that involved a “constructive discharge” and a “waiver of rights” and thought it might be an interesting example of how things can go wrong.  Let’s see what happened in Bowen v Alpena Regional Medical Center, an unpublished decision issued on January 16, 2018.

Plaintiff, a union employee, had been employed by the medical center for about five years when his employment ended in November 2015.  On his last day, plaintiff was presented with a disciplinary action indicating his employment would be terminated for excessive absenteeism and failure to follow job duties or treat others with courtesy and respect.  Plaintiff was offered a choice: (1) he could be terminated, and retain the right to pursue a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement; or (2) he could resign.  If plaintiff resigned, the medical center would not challenge his claim for unemployment benefits or disclose the reasons for plaintiff’s discharge to potential future employers. Plaintiff chose the latter and signed the following statement:

My resignation from Alpena General Hospital is voluntary.  I am aware [sic] applicable Hospital policies and procedures, as well as what rights I may have under a union contract, and hereby waive any and all of those rights/processes I may have, including the right to contest or grieve this or any employment action in accordance with that union contract.

Three months later, plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming his “termination” was “the culmination of years of harassment suffered at the hands of [p]laintiff’s supervisor and other employees following plaintiff’s reporting of another employee’s workplace misconduct in August 2012.”  Plaintiff claimed he was “coerced” into signing the document under threat of losing unemployment benefits and having his reputation disparaged to potential future employers. Plaintiff brought claims under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the Public Health Code and, in an amended complaint, alleged he had been constructively discharged.

The Alpena Circuit Court granted the medical center’s motion for summary disposition finding that plaintiff could not show he signed the agreement under duress and therefore was bound by a waiver of all claims, including the statutory claims brought in the lawsuit. The plaintiff appealed and the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed.

The scope of a release is a matter of contract that must be enforced as written if it is unambiguous.  Here, the agreement was limited to “those rights/processes [he] may have, including the right to contest or grieve this or any employment action in accordance with that union contract.” The court noted that the phrase “rights/processes” was a reference to the “Hospital policies and procedures” and those he “may have under the union contract.”  However, the release did not make any reference to statutory claims and therefore those claims were not included within the scope of the release agreement.

Next, the appellate court found that plaintiff may be able to prove he was constructively discharged.  Quoting prior court decisions, it explained that –

[T]he doctrine of constructive discharge is a legal fiction created to determine whether a plaintiff’s facially voluntary resignation was, in  actuality, a result of the defendant’s improper conduct such that the court will consider the resignation to be a de facto involuntary termination of the plaintiff’s employment.  Constructive discharge is not a cause of action in-and-of-itself; rather constructive discharge is “a defense that a plaintiff interposes to preclude the defendant from claiming that the plaintiff voluntarily left employment.” A constructive discharge depends upon the facts of each case and occurs when a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position “would have felt compelled to resign” as a result of the employer’s improper conduct.

(Citations omitted). The appellate court further explained that a constructive discharge can be established without showing duress, but the mere fact that a plaintiff was given the choice of resigning or being fired is insufficient unless the plaintiff can also show that the employer lacked “good cause to believe that there were grounds for the termination.”

The “very nature of constructive discharge is that a seemingly voluntary resignation was, in fact, an involuntary discharge in the face of intolerable conditions.”  However, intolerable conditions years, or even months before the resignation are likely not relevant; there should be some temporal proximity between the events/resignation to establish a causal connection. Where the plaintiff cannot establish a constructive discharge, a statutory retaliation or discrimination claim will fail because it lacks the requisite adverse employment action. Here, discovery had not yet closed when the case was dismissed and there remained a question of fact whether plaintiff was constructively discharged or voluntarily resigned.

So, what is the take-away from this case?  First, make sure the release agreement is written broadly enough to include statutory claims.  Also, allow the employee to take the agreement with them and think about it for a few days especially if the employee makes this request. Most of my clients involve me in termination decisions and in drafting their release agreements.  Even an unsigned release agreement can be enforced where the employee accepted the consideration tendered in the agreement.  The key is to always consult with experienced employment counsel, such as the author, before the employee is terminated.

This article was written by Claudia D. Orr, who is Secretary of the Board of Detroit SHRM, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, and an experienced labor/employment attorney at the Detroit office of Plunkett Cooney (a full service law firm and resource partner of Detroit SHRM).  She can be reached at corr@plunkettcooney.com or at (313) 983-4863. For further information go to: http://www.plunkettcooney.com/people-105.html.

Detroit SHRM encourages members to share these articles with others, inside and outside their organization, as long as its name and logo, and the author’s information, is included in the re-post of the article. January 2018.

American Society of Employers (ASE) Welcomes 19 New Members

By: American Society of Employers

Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Manager, Communications, ASE, 248.223.8040, hnezich@aseonline.org

Livonia, Mich. —January 22, 2018 — The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, announces 19 organizations joined ASE as members during the fourth quarter of 2017. The organizations are:

  • Arbor Oakland Group works with corporations, educational institutions, municipalities, and ad agencies to provide them with marketing solutions to help them effectively and efficiently speak visually to their customers and prospective customers. They are located in Royal Oak, MI.
  • Aspire Rehabilitation Services, LLC provides a full range of rehabilitation services for survivors of brain and spinal cord injury.  They are based out of Troy, MI.
  • CW Bearing specializes in the development and production of a wide range of premium quality ball bearings for electrical motors, gearboxes, power tools and the automotive industry.  They are located in Northville, MI.
  • Dart Bank is a financial institution with locations throughout West Michigan.
  • Detroit Thermal Systems, LLC develops and manufactures high quality climate control systems and components for automotive heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  They are located in Romulus, MI.
  • Entrega Systems Group, Inc. delivers technology services to businesses nationwide, including web & mobile, application development, user experience design, data & analytics, and digital business services.  They are located in Troy, MI.
  • Financial One Accounting, Inc. provides accounting, financial and consulting services for nonprofit organizations.  They are based in Plymouth, MI.
  • Hausbeck Pickle Company is a 90-year old company that produces a range of pickles and peppers.  They are located in Saginaw, MI.
  • Humane Society of Livingston County is an independent, non-profit, 501(c) 3 animal shelter located in Howell, MI.
  • Makower Abbate Guerra Wegner Vollmer is a law firm dedicated to the representation of community associations and the advancement of community law.  They have locations in Farmington Hills and St. Clair Shores, MI.
  • Mercedes-Benz Financial Services is a full-service automotive finance company that exclusively provides Mercedes-Benz dealers and their customers with attractive finance products.  They are located in Farmington Hills, MI.
  • Mubea Inc. Engineering Center is located in Auburn Hills, MI and is a global partner for the automotive industry who provides heavy duty spring components and related products.
  • NH Learning Solutions is the world’s largest independent training company that offers expert training from desktop productivity tools, to professional development, to complex server systems.  They are located in Livonia, MI.
  • Nidec Automotive Motor Americas LLC offers a wide selection of motors ranging from brushless motors for electric power steering, dual clutch transmissions, engine oil pumps, and others, to brush motors for engine cooling, ABS, seat adjustment, etc.  They are located in Auburn Hills, MI.
  • Nissan Technical Center North America is responsible for blending technology and engineering to create cars that deliver total customer satisfaction.  They are located in Farmington Hills, MI.
  • Oakland County Michigan Works! Southfield provides services to help employ and train job seekers and assist businesses with obtaining and training talent.
  • SLM Solutions North America, Inc. is a leading provider of powder bed fusion machinery and applications development for metal prototypes and manufacturing production located in Wixom, MI.
  • Wheeler Trucking provides premier automotive logistics services including light and medium duty vehicle hauling.  They are located in Flushing, MI.
  • Yanfeng Automotive Interiors delivers superior automotive interior solutions and is located in Novi, MI.

ASE president & CEO, Mary E. Corrado, made the announcement and stated, “ASE welcomes our 19 newest members.  We look forward to working with them in 2018 and for many years to come.”

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization

Celebrating 115 years, the American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.