Ronayne Joins Plunkett Cooney’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group

DATE:  October 9, 2019
CONTACT:  John E. Cornwell (248) 901-4008

 

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – October 9, 2019 – Former Michigan Supreme Court Judicial Law Clerk Louis F. Ronayne, III recently joined Plunkett Cooney’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group.

Ronayne, who previously served as judicial law clerk to Justice Brian K. Zahra, is a member of the Bloomfield Hills office of Plunkett Cooney – one of the Midwest’s oldest and most accomplished law firms.

“Louis is an outstanding attorney, and his background working for the state’s highest court will be invaluable in helping formulate legal arguments and in positioning cases for successful outcomes,” said Plunkett Cooney President & CEO Thomas P. Vincent.

Ronayne will assist clients in complex financial and business disputes and appeals. His litigation practice will include all aspects of commercial liability, including disputes arising under the Uniform Commercial Code.

A 2017 magna cum laude graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, Ronayne is the recipient of several academic honors, including the Walter E. Oberer Scholarship. He also served as executive editor of the law school’s Journal of Business  and Securities Law.

Ronayne received his undergraduate degree, cum laude, in 2014 from Adrian College. He is a licensed real estate professional in Michigan and a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

Plunkett Cooney’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group represents a broad range of clients in litigation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution concerning matters that arise while conducting business. Practice group members have extensive experience in matters involving contract disputes, business torts, real estate disputes, business ownership conflicts, bankruptcy, antitrust claims, corporate compliance issues, tax and finance issues, commercial collections, commercial landlord tenant, civil RICO, ERISA, intellectual property claims and many other areas.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 140 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year.

For more information about Louis F. Ronayne, III joining the Commercial Litigation Practice Group of Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

Court Refuses to Enforce Shortened Limitations Period for Title VII Claims

 By: Carol G. Schley, Clark Hill PLC

 

Michigan courts have long recognized the enforceability of shortened statute of limitations provisions in employment-related documents, such as applications and employment agreements.  In general, these provisions significantly shorten the time period that applicants or employees would otherwise have under law to assert claims and file lawsuits against the employer.  Recently, however, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that shortened statute of limitations provisions are unenforceable for claims asserted in federal court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

In Logan v. MGM Grand Detroit Casino, Barbrie Logan commenced employment with MGM in 2007.  As part of the hiring process, she signed an application that included a provision requiring her to bring any claims against MGM “no more than six (6) months after the date of the employment action that is the subject of the lawsuit.”  Ms. Logan subsequently resigned her employment on December 4, 2014, which she asserted was a constructive discharge.  She filed an EEOC charge 216 days later, alleging sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII, and the EEOC issued her a right to sue letter in November 2015.  On February 17, 2016, 440 days after she resigned her employment, Ms. Logan filed a lawsuit against MGM.  The trial court dismissed Ms. Logan’s claims on summary judgment, finding that they were barred by the 6 months limitations period in her employment application.  However, the Court of Appeals reversed and reinstated her claims, primarily relying on two grounds for its decision.

First, the court discussed the detailed enforcement scheme that is encompassed within Title VII, which includes: (i) a requirement that the claimant first file a charge with the EEOC before pursuing claims in court; (ii) specific deadlines for filing an EEOC charge (180 days or 300 days depending on the circumstances); (iii) a deadline for the EEOC to investigate the charge; and (iv) a deadline for the claimant to file a lawsuit once the EEOC issues a right to sue letter (90 days from receipt of the letter).  Further, the court noted that, unlike other federal statutes, Title VII does not only provide for damages to a claimant, but also requires the EEOC to investigate and mediate the dispute as a first step in an attempt to reach a resolution.  According to the court, “Any alterations to the statutory limitation period necessarily risk upsetting this delicate balance, removing the incentive of employers to cooperate with the EEOC, and encouraging litigation that gives short shrift to pre-suit investigation and potential resolution of disputes through the EEOC and analog state and local agencies.”

Second, the Court of Appeals held that Title VII was enacted in order to be “national in scope” and “required uniform enforcement.”  Per the court, allowing parties to contractually shorten the statute of limitations, and allowing courts to determine whether or not such provisions were enforceable based upon state law, would undermine these objectives.  While the court recognized that Michigan courts have enforced contractual provisions shortening the statute of limitations to six months in the employment context, “[i]t is not difficult to imagine, however, that in a different state courts could come to an opposite conclusion on this determination.  This is turn would give rise to the anomalous result that similarly situated plaintiffs in different states would have different rights in the enforcement of wholly federal claims in federal courts.”

What is the upshot of this case for employers?  Statute of limitations provisions that conflict with the time frames in Title VII will no longer be enforced for Title VII claims asserted in federal courts located within the Sixth Circuit (which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee).  However, such provisions will still be recognized and enforced with respect to claims brought in Michigan state courts and may also still be enforced by federal courts for other types of claims.  Therefore, requiring applicants and employees to sign a shortened statute of limitations provision is still recommended, as they are generally an effective way to shorten the time period in which the employer can be sued for many types of claims.  However, employers who require applicants and employees to sign a shortened statute of limitations provision should have the provision reviewed by legal counsel to ensure it encompasses all applicable claims and has the best chance of surviving judicial scrutiny.

Carol G. Schley is a member of the Detroit SHRM Legal Affairs Committee and an attorney at the law firm Clark Hill PLC.  She can be reached at cschley@clarkhill.com or (248)530-6338.

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.  October 2019

American Society of Employers (ASE) Announces the Michigan HR Executives of the Year for 2019

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

 

Livonia, Mich. —October 3, 2019 — American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, is pleased to announce the honorees for its annual Michigan HR Executive of the Year for 2019.  Through a nomination process overseen by ASE, candidates are selected in four categories and recognized for their admirable work that distinguishes them in the field of Human Resource Management.  The 2019 winners are:

  • Kathleen (Kathie) Patterson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Ally Financial

(For-profit Organization – Large Employer)

  • Sara Van Wagoner, Vice President of Corporate Growth Strategies, Edcor

(For-profit Organization – Small Employer)

  • Laurita Thomas, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, University of Michigan

(Non-profit Organization – Large Employer)

  • Andrew McKinnon, Director, Human Resources and Labor Relations, Macomb County

(Non-profit Organization – Small Employer)

“The honorees continue to impress me each year, and this year is no exception.  The dedication to the HR profession is prevalent in each of the 2019 HR Executives of the Year,” stated Mary E. Corrado, ASE President & CEO.  “We look forward to celebrating their achievements at the Annual Summit on November 7th.”

The 2019 Michigan HR Executives of the Year will receive their awards at ASE’s 16th Annual Summit, which celebrates not only the honorees but also the pivotal role of the HR profession in Michigan’s business and non-profit communities. ASE will also celebrate and recognize its members that have been with ASE for 50+ years.

The ASE Annual Summit will be held Thursday, November 7th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club. The event will feature a keynote presentation by Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner at Economic Leadership, LLC, who will speak about 10 trends that will impact every employer in the future.  Ted has 38 years of experience in directing local and regional economic development and workforce development programs and later as CEO of a leading economic policy thinktank.

ASE’s 2019 Annual Summit is open to both ASE members and non-members. Tickets are $99 per person, $539 for groups of six, and $639 for groups of eight. The evening includes networking, cocktails, small plates, and dessert. To purchase tickets or for registration information, please call 248-223-8006 or visit the ASE website.

 

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

American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit employer 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 HR information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.

Top 4 Employee Background Check Practices

         

DATE: October 3, 2019
CONTACT:  Dan Klimek  (888) 817-8282

 

Identify Why Your Organization Needs to Conduct Background Checks

This is probably the easiest and most obvious question an employer can ask themselves.  If you are reading this, you are likely considering screening your applicants at a certain stage in the hiring process.  Every company goes through this at some point, no matter how large or small.  This is attributed to a number of things, not the least of which includes protecting your firm from a bad and costly hiring decision, the duty to protect current employees, the need to protect company data and resources, and the need to ensure the integrity of your candidates.  It is understandable in today’s day and age that anyone with employees would want to know about past behaviors that can lead to future problems.  Thankfully background screening has become commonplace for most employers.  Unfortunately, bad hires count on a number of employers who do not screen their hires and hire strictly on how they feel about an applicant, creating potential problems down the road.

What Do You Want to Know About Your Applicants?

I’ll bet if you are calling around to background check companies, you have never been asked this question in these terms.

If you stop to think; “what are we concerned about in our applicant’s background”, you will likely come up with the answer to this one.

What matters about an applicant’s background that would prevent you from making an offer?

For some industries, this question is easily answered by regulation specific to who can perform certain professional roles.  Your industry may have these types of guidelines in place, and if so, a qualified background screening company should be able to match you with the exact searches you need (in this case, skip to number 4!).  Most industries don’t have specific background check guidelines and therefore it is up to the employer (you) to identify what you want to know about an applicant before hiring them.  There are many options for employers to choose from; and so, to name a few of the most commonly requested searches, we have pasted this handy list below:

  • Criminal Convictions
    • Sex Offender History
  • County Level Criminal Convictions
  • Local Level Misdemeanor Convictions
  • Driving Records
  • Credit History
  • Identity Verification (Name, DOB, SSN and Prior Addresses)
  • Education Verification
  • Prior Employment Verification
  • Federal Court Records Search
  • Bankruptcy Court Search
  • Industry Specific Professional Licensing and Violations
  • US Terror Watchlist
  • Reference Interviews

Keeping in mind that this list is not all-inclusive and that there are many additional options available, it is important that along with having an idea of what you do want to know about an applicant, you should consider the information you may not want to know.  By this, we simply mean, what type of records are you willing to overlook on any applicant.  It is specific to note that this should be applied to any applicant to avoid hiring bias.  If there are records that would not prevent your firm from hiring someone, we can help steer you clear of searches that might reveal that information.  For example, if your applicant will never have access to a company car and has no job requirements to drive while employed, you may not select to see his or her driving record.  The same applies to credit history searches and bankruptcy records.  If these things would never disqualify someone from working for you, it may be best to leave those out of your background check.

Identify and Document the Information You Want to Know

Once you have a pretty good idea of what you do and don’t want to know about your applicants, it is a smart idea to document that list for a couple of reasons.  First off, you will want to have it handy when you do select a background screening company, so you can best articulate which searches you want to be included and which you don’t.  This brings up the topic of packages.

Clear and simple; if a background check company insists on a package of searches that they have pre-made; don’t buy.

This is your hiring process and you can decide what is to be included and what isn’t.  A qualified company may have suggestions based on experience or your local area, but at the end of the day, these searches are for people you will be hiring and working with.  Also, by documenting these searches and the criteria you will use to hire, you can help ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and create a fair and even hiring process that is applied across the board for applicants in equal roles.

Selecting a Qualified Background Check Company

What do we know so far?

  • Pre-made packages are not helpful for most employers, and background checks should be designed for each individual employer, with the specific details about what they want to know about an applicant.
  • There are a lot of search options available to an employer and consulting an expert can help.
  • You as the employer are in control of the information that goes into your background checks.
  • Compliance includes creating a background check that applies to all applicants for a specific role

What else makes for a qualified partner to screen your applicants?

Most importantly for any employer to know is that creating a compliant background check to deploy during your hiring process is a smart way to help reduce hiring risks.  This process is very commonplace and with a good background check firm to partner with, you can ensure that you are obtaining the very specific information that is important to your individual organization to know before you make hiring decisions.

Dan Klimek

Dan is a Background Investigator with Background Check Central, a specialized employee screening and corporate investigation agency with global reach, based in Metro-Detroit. For information about Background Check Central’s services or for a complete bio of our team, please visit www.BackgroundCheckCentral.com or call directly at 888-817-8282

Stanczyk Chairs International Product Liabilty, Complex Torts Practice Group

Plunkett Cooney

DATE:  October 1, 2019
CONTACT:  John E. Cornwell (248) 901-4008

 

Stanczyk_EnvBLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – October 1, 2019 – Matthew J. Stanczyk, a partner of Plunkett Cooney – one of the Midwest’s oldest and most accomplished law firms – recently became Chair of ALFA International’s Product Liability & Complex Torts (PL&CT) Practice Group.

A member of the firm’s Board of Directors, Stanczyk assumed the PL&CT Chair position at the conclusion of the group’s seminar in Marana, Arizona on Sept. 25-27. His term will expire in the fall of 2021.

“I’m extremely proud that my ALFA colleagues have trusted me with this leadership position,” said Stanczyk, who is a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Detroit office. “We have an outstanding group that is focused on educating clients about these complex areas of litigation and to making a difference for the defense bar.”

The members of ALFA’s PL&CT Practice Group focus on the areas of general business counseling, litigation, mediation and arbitration, lobbying and legislation, product recalls and hearings, regulatory and licensing issues, warnings and labels, standards setting, public relations and media management, and trade association relations.

Founded in 1980, ALFA International is the premier network of independent law firms in the world with 150 member firms. ALFA’s 80 U.S. firms maintain offices in 95 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, and the consortium’s 70 international firms are located throughout Europe, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Africa, Canada, Mexico and South America.

In addition to his involvement in ALFA International, Stanczyk serves as co-leader of Plunkett Cooney’s Tort & Litigation Practice Group, which focuses on a range of litigation issues, including product liability, complex torts, general liability, retail liability and foodservice and hospitality law.

A 1986 graduate of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and a 1983 graduate of the University of Michigan, Stanczyk is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Detroit Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan (Negligence and Consumer Law sections), American Bar Association, DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar, among others.

In addition, Stanczyk is the recipient of such professional honors as Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating-AV Preeminent™, the Michigan Super Lawyer designation for product liability and selection by Dbusiness magazine as a Top Lawyer in product liability.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 140 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year.

For more information about Matthew Stanczyk as chair of ALFA International’s PL&CT Practice Group, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

Plunkett Cooney Attorneys Among Legal Publication’s ‘Rising Stars’

Plunkett Cooney

DATE: September 26, 2019
CONTACT: John Cornwell (248) 901-4008

 

Bloomfield Hills, MI — September 26, 2019 — In its annual review of the state’s top young attorneys, Michigan Super Lawyers magazine has awarded 10 lawyers from Plunkett Cooney, one of Michigan’s oldest law firms, its “Rising Star” honor.

Published by Thomson Reuters, Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars compiles its annual list based upon a patented selection process that involves the creation of a candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by an in-house research department; and a peer evaluation process.

To be considered a Rising Star, candidates must be either 40 years old or younger or licensed to practice for 10 years or less. No more than 2.5 percent of eligible attorneys receive the “Rising Star” designation.

Below is a list of Plunkett Cooney attorneys who have received the 2019 Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star designation:

Bloomfield Hills office members:

Detroit office member:

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 140 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also recently selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year and as one of its 2019 Cool Places to Work in Michigan.

For more information regarding Plunkett Cooney’s 2019 Michigan “Rising Stars,” contact the firm’s Practice Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell, at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

DOL’s New FLSA Salary Level Rule effective January 1, 2020

 By:  Miriam L. Rosen

 

On Sept. 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued the final rule on the new salary threshold for white-collar exempt status employees under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). The new rule changes the current salary level for exempt employees from $23,660 per year to $35,568 annually. The new rule will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Components of the New FLSA Salary Level Rule

In announcing the new rule, the DOL noted the following key components:

  • The standard weekly salary level changes from $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker).
  • The total annual compensation level for “highly compensated employees (HCE)” changes from the current level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year.
  • Employers are permitted to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level.

Significantly, the new rule does not change the job duties test related to exempt status and does not require annual automatic adjustments to the salary threshold.

The final rule updates the salary level threshold for exempt executive, administrative, and  professional employees for the first time since 2004. With a salary level increase that most employers consider reasonable, this rule will likely go into effect with minimal fanfare, unlike the unsuccessful effort in 2016 to raise the salary level to $47,476 annually. The DOL has estimated that the new rule will result in an additional 1.2 million workers will be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay as the likely result change in status from exempt to non-exempt.

Next Steps for Employers

With the Jan. 1, 2020 effective date on the horizon, employers should take steps to prepare:

Review positions currently classified as exempt from overtime pay. There are two aspects to this review – determine whether employees currently in exempt positions meet both the new minimum salary requirement and the duties test for an overtime exemption.

  • The salary test. The new regulations require that as of Jan. 1, 2020 an employee in a white collar exempt position must be paid at least $684 per week. If the weekly salary is below that level, an employer must take some action.

An employer has two options:

  1. Raise employees’ pay to meet the new salary level requirement to maintain exempt status; or
  2. Convert the employees to non-exempt status and pay the employees for overtime worked over 40 hours in a week. 

In making this decision, employers should consider a number of factors that include: the employee’s current pay, the hours regularly worked by the employee, and the employer’s ability to control or manage the hours worked.

  • The duties test. Remember, a position classified as exempt must meet the salary and the duties test. Employers should use this regulatory change as an opportunity to review the classification of all exempt positions, regardless of salary level. Positions that meet the exempt status duties test are not always clear cut and changes in responsibilities and technology can muddy the waters even further. This is an opportunity to review and fix misclassification errors.

Ensure that timekeeping procedures are in place. Once it is determined that some employees will be reclassified as non-exempt, ensure that procedures are in place to properly track hours worked for these employees. For many newly non-exempt employees who have not tracked time worked, this will be a significant – and unpopular – change. Employers must also address such timekeeping items as travel time, lunch and break time, after-hours emailing and texting, and other compensable time issues.

Review other policies and procedures. The reclassification of employees may also impact other employment policies such as time off benefits, telecommuting, flex-time, and incentive pay policies.

Prepare employee communications. It is critical to communicate these changes to employees in a clear and direct manner so that employees understand how their pay and hours will be affected. The communication should address timekeeping procedures and other policy issues. Newly non-exempt employees used to having workplace flexibility as exempt employees will need to understand requirements for timekeeping and getting approval for overtime work.

Employers should consult with their employment lawyers about the provisions of the new rule and use the next three months to prepare for the January 1, 2020 effective date.

This article was written by Miriam L. Rosen, who is Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of Detroit SHRM and Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Practice Group in the Bloomfield Hills office of McDonald Hopkins PLC, a full service law firm. She can be reached at mrosen@mcdonaldhopkins.com or at (248) 220-1342.

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. September 2019.

Lessons Learned – Part Three: The Oral Contract

By: Claudia D. Orr

 

This is the last article in my three part series called “Lessons Learned” pointing out the mistakes of others so we don’t step in the same messes. In the first article we discussed a case that showed how a no-fault attendance policy violated the Family and Medical Leave Act even though no points were assessed for taking such leave. The second article discussed just how expensive it can be when a human resources manager drops the ball and punitive damages are awarded in a Title VII case.

Today, we are going to look at the unsigned employment agreement in Rowe v Detroit School of Digital Technology, a recent unpublished opinion by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

In this case, plaintiff Christy Rowe had several discussions with Jamie Kothe about working for the school as the Director of Affiliate Affairs. Plaintiff contends that both she and Kothe agreed to an annual salary of $100K and an additional $1,000 per month for telephone and car allowance. Plaintiff drafted the agreement and provided it to Kothe. According to plaintiff, Kothe said it accurately reflected the terms that were agreed to verbally. However Kothe never signed it.

Although the contract remained unsigned, Rowe provided services to the school from November 7, 2016 through April 3, 2017. She received payments sporadically, including cash, for her work but received no compensation in February or March. That is when she submitted a letter to the school indicating it owed her over $26K in unpaid wages and phone/car supplemental pay.

According to Plaintiff, Kothe agreed the terms in the written contract were accurate, but didn’t sign it because she wanted her attorney to review it. According to Kothe, she declined to sign the agreement because she had not agreed to those terms and the school had only paid Plaintiff as an independent contractor for the work she performed and not as an employee.

The defendants moved for dismissal before discovery was conducted, which was granted. This is usually premature. Rowe appealed and the Court of Appeals reversed. Based on Plaintiff’s affidavit and text messages between her and Kothe referencing the job title and $100K, the court ruled that Plaintiff had a fair chance to uncover sufficient evidence during discovery to prove her claims, “notwithstanding the fact that the memorialization of that agreement was not signed by Kothe.”

There are several simple lessons in this case. First, don’t ever let someone start performing services for your company before the agreement (whatever it is) has both signatures. In addition, written communications during negotiations should indicate that, until the parties reach an agreement on all of the terms and reduce it to a writing signed by both, there is no enforceable agreement. Remember, in most situations, an oral agreement is enforceable. The fact that plaintiff performed services for several months may prove to be problematic for the defendant.

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) and an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association. 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. September2019.

American Society of Employers (ASE) Releases 2019 Severance Pay, Policy & Practices Survey Findings

DATE:  September 24, 2019
CONTACT:  Heather Nezich, Communications Manager, 248.223.8040, hnezich@aseonline.org

 

Livonia, Mich.  September 24, 2019 — American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, has released its 2019 Severance Pay, Policy, & Practices Survey.  The survey, covering Michigan employers, examines formal and informal severance practices of Michigan employers.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Just 18% of those surveyed maintain formal severance plans or policies governing severance arrangements.  More often, severance arrangements are determined on an ad hoc or case by case basis or are included in employment agreements.
  • The most common events that typically trigger severance is position elimination (78%), permanent layoff (56%), at-will termination (47%).
  • The most prevalent method for calculating severance for non-executive plans is years of service (80%).  A majority of those surveyed (57%) grant one week of pay per year of service, typically to a maximum of 24 weeks.
  • Severance benefits for executives is most often negotiated on an individual basis.
  • Half of those surveyed do not continue employee benefits during the severance period.
  • Fewer than half of those surveyed (46%) provide outplacement benefits to those affected by a reduction in force/layoff.  Of those that do, a majority (90%) use an outplacement firm to do so.

The ASE 2019 Severance Pay, Policy & Practices Survey findings were announced by ASE President and CEO, Mary E. Corrado.

“Although it is not surprising to see so few companies maintain formal severance plans, we caution employers to be diligent about applying these benefits consistently. The benefit of offering severance or outplacement assistance to employees is the positive impact on the company reputation and employee brand,” stated Mary E. Corrado, ASE President & CEO.

Background information on the ASE 2019 Severance Pay, Policy, & Practices Survey:

  • 139 organizations from across Michigan participated.
  • Organizations with 500 or fewer Michigan employees made up nearly 85% of the survey sample, while organizations with 501 to 1,000 Michigan employees represented 6.5% of the sample. The remaining 8.6% of the sample comes from organizations with over 1,000 Michigan employees.
  • A variety of industries are represented, with Manufacturing organizations representing 65.5% of the survey sample.

To obtain copies of ASE’s 2019 Severance Pay, Policy, and Practices Survey, ASE members should visit their Dashboard on the ASE website or contact ASE’s Compensation and Benefits Surveys department at surveys@aseonline.org or 248.223.8051. These surveys are available at no cost to ASE members.  Non-members can purchase the report for $525.

Plunkett Cooney Attorneys Among Michigan ‘Super Lawyers’

DATE: September 19, 2019
CONTACT: John Cornwell (248) 901-4008

 

Bloomfield Hills, MI — September 19, 2019 — Michigan Super Lawyers magazine recently named 18 attorneys from Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, to its 2019 list of “Super Lawyers.”

For the thirteenth consecutive year, Plunkett Cooney appellate attorney Mary Massaron has received special recognition by the magazine with its inclusion of her among the state’s top 50 women lawyers. Massaron is one of the firm’s most experienced appellate attorneys and serves as co-leader of Plunkett Cooney’s Class Action & Mass Tort Practice Group.

Below is a list of Plunkett Cooney’s partners who have received the 2019 Michigan Super Lawyer designation:

Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office members:

Plunkett Cooney’s Detroit office members:

Plunkett Cooney’s East Lansing office members:

 Plunkett Cooney’s Flint office members:

Plunkett Cooney’s Petoskey office members:

Super Lawyers features a patented selection process involving three steps: (1) creation of a candidate pool; (2) evaluation of candidates by the research department; and (3) peer evaluation by practice area. Those named to the annual list represent only five percent of the state’s licensed practitioners.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 140 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year and as one of its 2019 Cool Places to Work in Michigan.

Super Lawyers Academic and Professional Affiliation 2019

For more information about Plunkett Cooney’s 2019 Michigan Super Lawyers,” contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.