Lame Duck Session’s Amendments to Citizen Led Ballot Proposals (for paid sick time and the minimum wage rate) Challenged and May Change!

 By:  Claudia D. Orr


I am having flashbacks to when the regulations increasing the minimum threshold for white collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act were struck by a federal district court in Texas on November 22, 2016. The regulations, which would have required white collar exemption salaries to be no less than $913/week, would have taken place on December 1, 2018, just eight days later!  By then, most employers had already determined which of its exempt employees would need to receive a salary increase and which would be reclassified as non-exempt and eligible for overtime.  Many had already notified the affected workers.

This could have been made worse if the 2016 regulations had already taken effect when they were struck.  Well, that is what may happen to Michigan’s new Paid Medical Leave Act and the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act which are now being challenged by the Michigan Legislature.  Odd, you bet, given that it was the Legislature that just passed both laws at the end of the 2018 Regular Session.

But, with new legislators, come new voices. The issue is whether citizen led ballot initiatives, which would have placed more employee friendly versions before the voters in November, can be adopted by the legislature and amended (to be more employer-friendly) during the same legislative session. As you know, both laws took effect on March 29, 2019.

Why was this process followed last fall by the republican majority legislature? Because had the voters passed the laws, they could only have been amended or repealed by a subsequent vote of the citizens or by a 3/4th vote of the members in both chambers of the legislature.  By adopting the law, and taking it off the November ballot, the legislature amended both laws by a simple majority of the vote and during the same 99th Legislature Session that had adopted the bills just months earlier.  That is the rub. Can they do that?

Democratic State Senator Chang asked the new democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel to weigh in on the issue. To side step that maneuver, Republicans in the Legislature asked the Michigan Supreme Court to review the matter and issue an advisory opinion. The majority of the justices on the Supreme Court are generally viewed as being more conservative, but there have been some who have been swing votes recently.

On April 3, 2019, the Supreme Court issued an order that states it will “consider” whether to issue an advisory opinion. It has invited both chambers of the legislature (and any of its members) to submit briefs on: (1) whether the court should issue an advisory opinion, (2) whether the Legislature was permitted under Article 2, § 9 of the state constitution to “enact an initiative petition into law and then amend that law during the same legislative session,” and (3) whether the two laws were properly enacted. The court also respectfully asked the Attorney General to submit separate briefs arguing both sides of those issues.

Briefs supporting the constitutionality of the enacted legislation are due on May 15 and those arguing against are due on June 19. Amicus curiae briefs by interested parties are permitted by leave of the court only.

For those who are interested in watching oral argument, the hearing will be streamed live on July 17, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. For further information, go to: Sometimes you can get a sense of which way the justices are leaning by the questions asked. While the Supreme Court has not yet agreed that it will issue an advisory opinion, given the importance of these issues, we may see one as early as August.

So, what could happen? I hate to speculate, but if the laws were not properly amended, the original laws, as adopted by the legislature, may be back in play. That means that minimum wage could jump to $10 hour. Also, the original earned sick leave act applied to small employers having fewer than 10 employees, requiring them to provide not less than 40 hours of paid sick time a year and all other employers to provide not less than 72 hours of paid sick time a year. There are many other pro-employee differences as well.

At least this time around the already implemented changes if struck should not result in lower employee morale since the alternatives would likely be beneficial to workers. Of course, this is all speculation at this point. Stay tuned!


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 or at (313) 983-4863. For further information go to:

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. June 2019.

Ultimate Software Earns Two Gold Stevie Awards for Customer Service

By: Ultimate Software


DATE:  June 19, 2019
CONTACT:  Christie Hecht (248) 229-5125


 Ultimate Software Earns Two Gold Stevie Awards for Customer Service

Ultimate Software, a leading global provider of human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions in the cloud, announced today that the company earned two Stevie Awards for outstanding customer service from the 2019 American Business Awards. Ultimate received a Gold Stevie in the category of Migration as a Service for its UltiPro Launch service for new customers, and Ultimate’s Services team earned an additional Gold Stevie for Customer Service Department of the Year in the category of Computer Software–More than 2,500 Employees.

UltiPro Launch offers a collaborative rollout experience to help new Ultimate customers go live on UltiPro with ease and efficiency. An intuitive blend of product and service, UltiPro Launch includes a personalized project dashboard with detailed insights into the entire process, as well as a guided setup led by Ultimate’s experts to ensure a smooth transition to UltiPro. Dedicated project managers oversee each launch, so customers receive personalized, proactive assistance every step of the way.

Ultimate views all its customers as “Partners for Life,” offering a level of proactive service that goes beyond product support, to ensure customers get the most out of UltiPro—from improving processes to building stronger workplace cultures to boosting bottom lines. Ultimate’s Services team uses a unique Collaborative Account Support Team (CAST) model to ensure a more tailored and consistent customer service experience. Customers also have access to dedicated account managers and 24/7 support with a Rapid Response hotline, as well as unlimited training and ongoing learning opportunities at no additional cost. Ultimate’s equal focus and continued investment in both product and service have driven its 96% customer retention rate.

“Just as Ultimate has made people our first priority for the past 29 years, our Services team has provided a personalized, ‘People First’ approach to serving thousands of diverse customers across the globe,” said Julie Dodd, chief operating officer at Ultimate. “That service begins on day one and continues through a lifelong partnership, with our account managers working hand in hand with every organization. Ultimate’s employees are empowered to not only support, but also anticipate, our customers’ unique business needs, and we are committed to delivering the industry’s best and most comprehensive customer service. We congratulate our more than 2,400 Services team members across Ultimate on earning these prestigious awards. Their service excellence helps fuel our customers’ achievements with UltiPro every day.”

About Ultimate Software
Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud-based human capital management and employee experience solutions, with approximately 51 million people records in the cloud. Our award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Questions? Contact Christie Hecht at 248.229.5125 or

Diversity: The New Workforce

By: Cecile Alper-Leroux at Ultimate Software
June 12, 2019

The below post is an excerpt from Cecile Alper-Leroux’s, VP of HCM Innovation at Ultimate Software, new book, 
From Dissonance to Resonance: Bringing Your People and Organization into Sync.

Diversity: The New Workforce

Today’s workforce is made up of a broad range of previously underrepresented groups of people—women, people of color, immigrants, disabled people, and LGBTQ individuals. For the most part, newer arrivals to the workforce are comfortable with diversity. They are accepting of and even expect diversity as a natural priority in their education and work institutions. But often our workplaces are full of biases that don’t represent what is actually happening in the world around us, and that needs to change for people to be in resonance with our organizations.

Diversity & inclusion initiatives and programs have entered the mainstream and moved beyond the realm of HR. In fact, diversity & inclusion (D&I) is increasingly becoming a component of companies’ employee recruitment and customer branding strategies. Businesses promote their D&I statistics to candidates in online recruiting materials and solutions and in annual report images, noting percentages of employed women, African Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ, disabled, and other underrepresented employee groups. Organizations that do not provide this information must answer to candidates factoring workforce diversity into their employment decisions.

Progress has been made. The problem is that these messages, images, and statistics focus on apparent diversity, which is fairly easy to manufacture in photographs and almost as easy to create and tally up with targeted hiring practices. Yet the truth about diversity is more nuanced. Both visible and unseen differences exist. Consequently, hiring for diversity does not ensure lasting diversity, resulting in a hidden “revolving door” of inequity in promotions, pay, and other critical measures of workplace health.

Adding to the complexity is that people may opt out of categorization. For example, an increasing number of employees are choosing to not identify as a single ethnic category, with more people stating that their heritage as “mixed.”  Women may choose not to participate in programs designed to benefit women because they want to be judged solely on their merits and not their gender, often knowing that the playing field is anything but uniformly equal and that meritocracy is a myth.

Creating a Culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Creating an authentic culture of inclusion is much harder than achieving workforce diversity, yet it is just as critical. Without inclusion, if people sense that others judge them because they are “different,” this may adversely affect their self-esteem, freedom of expression, ability to collaborate openly, and their overall work engagement and productivity.

Why do so many companies fail at inclusion? One answer is implicit bias—ingrained stereotypes about different people that cloud the thinking of the dominant cultural paradigm, affecting understanding and decision-making. Implicit bias is not all-out racism, sexism, or any of the other –isms. All people are susceptible to snap judgments with no basis in fact about perceived differences—it’s hard-wired into our DNA. We do our best to ignore these instincts, but they’re frustratingly resilient, coloring our decisions and perceptions in ways we may not even realize.

While outward signs of prejudice can be met with immediate reprimands or job termination, implicit bias (or unconscious bias, as it is also called) is more difficult to perceive and manage. Whereas diversity can be measured across types of people, inclusion has to do with each person’s feelings about how the dominant or standard of workers in the organization perceive them. Eradicating implicit biases to make all employees feel valued, respected, and supported is far more difficult—yet more important—than tallying up varied demographic metrics.

How to Create Workplaces that are Resonant with Identity  

Tremendous business opportunities are available to companies that value the contributions of all their employees, whether they’re gay or straight, black or white. The more extensive the diversity of people in an organization, the greater the possibility of generating unique ideas and innovating.

A resonant workplace benefits organizational strength as much as it benefits the people working within it. When organizations are inclusive of the total workforce population, improved financial outcomes, a stronger economy, and a better society result.

Since the starting line is always different for underrepresented groups, companies building resonant organizations may need to tip the scales in favor of women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and neurodiverse people to achieve balance and desired outcomes. A culture that supports everyone in the workplace is a culture in which all people can flourish and achieve wonderful things.

While a resonant workplace makes managing and leading a workforce more complicated and challenging, it opens the door to new realms of economic opportunity. The incredible diversity of today’s workforce encompasses cultural attributes that will help companies create, enrich, and deliver new products and services for the entire spectrum of the world’s population.

Attorneys Allen, Hester join firm’s Transportation Law Practice Group

By:  Plunkett Cooney


DATE:  June 11, 2019
CONTACT:  John E. Cornwell (248) 901-4008


Attorneys Allen, Hester Join
Transportation Law Practice Group

Bloomfield Hills, MI — June 11, 2019 — Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, recently added two attorneys, Danny C. Allen and Aleasha Hester, to its Transportation Law Practice Group.

A member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Allen focuses his practice in the areas of first-party no-fault and third-party motor vehicle  negligence. As former house counsel for a major American insurance provider, he has experience handling personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist premises liability and bodily injury claims.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan since 2007, Allen received his law degree from Wayne State University Law School. He received his master’s degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 2000 and his undergraduate degree from Albion College in 1996.

Hester is a member of the firm’s Detroit office who focuses her litigation practice in the areas of motor vehicle liability and no-fault law. Her clients include insurance companies and businesses in first-party, third-party and uninsured and underinsured no-fault law cases with an emphasis on fraud investigation. This work includes experience with special investigative units in matters involving fraud in the procurement, fraudulent claims, policy rescission and coverage disputes. Hester also has experience handling premises liability, commercial litigation and trust and estate planning matters.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan since 2016, Hester received her law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and her undergraduate degree from Northwood University in 2006.

Plunkett Cooney’s Transportation Law Practice Group includes the talents of more than 20 attorneys across the states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. The group’s members provide an array of litigation and risk management services, including expertise in the areas of trucking liability, first- and third-party auto liability, cross-border claims with Canada, fraud investigation services and emergency accident response.

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 150 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.

For more information about Danny C. Allen and Aleasha Hester joining Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008;

US Supreme Court Rules that EEOC Charge is not Jurisdictional Requirement for Bringing Civil Rights Claims in Federal Court

Plunkett Cooney

By: Claudia D. Orr

At first, the media’s announcement of the new U.S. Supreme Court decision, Fort Bend County, Texas v Davis,  left me scratching my head, but after reading the case, it really did not say anything new, it just made the point very clear. The opinion authored by Justice Ginsburg was just released on June 3, 2019.

            A little background information may be helpful. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They can hear cases involving a federal question or they can hear cases where there is diversity (in very simple terms, all of the defendant are located out of the state where the claims are brought) and there is $75,000 or more at issue. Federal civil rights claims (i.e., those under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, etc.) present federal questions. If the court does not have jurisdiction, it cannot exercise authority over the case.

            Title VII contains a procedure that applies to most of the federal civil rights statutes whereby charges must first be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the alleged unlawful practice (or within 300 days in states, such as Michigan, where there is a state agency empowered to investigate civil rights violations). If the EEOC determines there is “no reasonable cause to believe that the charge is true”, it issues to the “charging party” a notice of right to sue in court.

But what happens when the charging party files in court without first filing the administrative charge, or before the notice of right to sue is issued, or perhaps fails to allege all of the violations in the charge that are stated in the civil action? Must the federal district court dismiss those civil rights claims upon motion by the defendant/employer? If filing at the EEOC is a jurisdictional requirement, the answer is yes. Let’s look at some of the prior Supreme Court decisions on this issue.

            In 1982, the Supreme Court held that the administrative process applicable to federal civil rights claims is not a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit, but rather “a requirement that, like a statute of limitations, is subject to waiver, estoppel, and equitable tolling.” Zipes v Trans World Airlines, 455 US 385, 393 (1982).

However, just two years later, the Court felt obliged to clarify its prior statement, stating, “[p]rocedural requirements established by Congress for gaining access to the federal courts are not to be disregarded by courts out of a vague sympathy for particular litigants. … [I]n the long run, experience teaches that strict adherence to the procedural requirements specified by the legislature is the best guarantee of evenhanded administration of the law.”  Baldwin County Welcome Center v Brown, 466 US 147, 152 (1984). The Court further clarified that it had not declared in Zipes that the requirement does not ever have to be satisfied; but only that it is subject to waiver and tolling, etc.

            In the recent case, the former employee had filed a charge at the EEOC alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. Later, she “amended” her charge (or thought she had) by writing on the intake questionnaire “religion”, “discharge” and “reasonable accommodation”.  Apparently, after the initial charge was filed, she was fired for failing to report to work on a Sunday due to a church commitment when she had been told she would be fired if she did not report. A point of fact: writing comments on the intake questionnaire is not how charges are amended.

            After receiving her notice of right to sue, the former employee brought a lawsuit that contained a claim of religion based discrimination. “Years into the litigation, Fort Bend asserted for the first time that the District Court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate [the] religion-based discrimination claim because she had not stated such a claim in her EEOC Charge.” The district court granted the motion finding the requirement to be jurisdictional. The Fifth Circuit reversed holding that this was not a jurisdictional requirement, but rather the “requirement is a prudential prerequisite” to filing suit.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to decide the issue once and for all. The issue was framed as follows: “whether a precondition to suit is a mandatory claim-processing rule subject to forfeiture, or a jurisdictional prescription.” The Court explained that jurisdictional requirements can’t be waived and, in fact, a court may raise the issue sua sponte (on its own) at any time. If a court does not have jurisdiction, it lacks authority to act in the case.

The Court characterized the charge filing requirement as “a processing rule, albeit a mandatory one, not a jurisdictional prescription delineating the adjudicatory authority of courts.” “[A] rule may be mandatory without being jurisdictional, and Title VII’s charge-filing requirement fits that bill.”

So, there you have it. Employers should continue to raise the defense as early on in litigation, but a Plaintiff may be able to argue that there are reasons why the failure should be excused. Dismissal on this basis is not a certainty.

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 or at (313) 983-4863. For further information go to:


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. June 2019.

Merces / MMA Compensation In Michigan Survey

Merces Consulting is pleased to announce that the annual Merces / MMA Compensation In Michigan Survey (Manufacturing Edition) is now available for purchase.  For over 20 years Merces has collaborated with Lansing-based Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) to provide essential up-to-date compensation and benefits information for Michigan employers.

The current survey includes salary and bonus information for 120+ jobs covering accounting/finance, building/grounds maintenance, engineering, general executive, human resources, information systems, materials management, manufacturing (production, skilled trades and quality assurance/control), office/administrative and sales/marketing provided by MMA manufacturing members.

Contact Linda Budd, the Survey Director, to purchase a copy.

Linda Budd
Telephone: 248-721-9561

American Society of Employers (ASE) Releases 2019 Compensation Survey Results

Modest Wage Gains Continue for Most, but Engineering, Quality, and HR See Above Average Growth

Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Communications Manager, ASE,, 248.223.8040

Livonia, Mich. —May 29, 2019 — The American Society of Employers (ASE), an employer association serving Michigan employers for over 116 years, released the organization’s 2019 Compensation Survey results at its Compensation and Benefits Conference last week. It’s the 67th year that ASE has published the annual survey.  The findings were released by Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of ASE.

“This year’s survey results showed a continuation of the modest wage gains we have seen for the last several years.  However, despite the lack of volatility in wages there remains challenges.  Digging deeper into the data does reveal that jobs that require technical skills are commanding higher rates of increases than others.  While that is not unexpected, it does require employers to proactively engage in ongoing market assessments,” stated Corrado.  “Unless something derails the current economic expansion, we expect pressures on wage growth to accelerate given the tightening labor supply,” added Corrado.

2019 Survey Demographics

A total of 335 companies, 57% of them located in the metro Detroit region, responded to the survey, which was distributed to human resource professionals via an online survey in January 2019. Nearly 40% of the respondents are classified as automotive suppliers, and 474 jobs were reported on.  83% of the organizations that responded have 1-500 employees.

2019 ASE Compensation Survey Highlights:

  • Actual wage increases, based on a constant sample of companies, increased 2.7% year over year.
  • Merit increase budgets, what a company budgets for performance-based pay increases, averaged 3%.  This is consistent with 2018 merit budgets.
  • Organizations offering variable or incentive pay showed a slight increase to 83% in 2019 compared to 81% in 2018.
  • Several fields witnessed average wage increases of 3.5% and higher, with the Engineering Support, Human Resources, Inspection / Quality and Supply Chain/Logistics job families each showing increases of 3.7% or higher.
  • Product Development Engineering and Electrical Engineering job groups average wage increases were 3.8% and 3.6% respectively.

To obtain a copy of the 2019 Compensation Survey results, contact Kevin Marrs, Vice President at ASE, 248-223-8025 or

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

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


Causal Connection between Protected Activity and Adverse Action Supported By Good Deed

By:  Claudia D. Orr

My clients know what I am going to say when they want to “bend the rules” to do something nice for one of their employees: “No good deed goes unpunished.” This is just one issue that caused the employer trouble in Redlin v Grosse Pointe Public School System, a recent decision published by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Let’s look at what happened.

In September 2012, plaintiff Debra Redlin was hired as an Assistant Principal at the Grosse Pointe South High School. She and another Assistant Principal, Terry Flint, reported to Deputy Superintendent Jon Dean. In the summer of 2014, Moussa Hamka became the principal at the high school.

In 2014, Dean told Flint that he intended to conduct a “spot-check” on a social worker who was suspected of being intoxicated at work. Dean told Flint to keep it confidential, but Flint apparently warned the social worker. When Flint confessed, a letter of concern was placed in his personnel file.

In December 2014, Vice Principal Flint made statements to plaintiff about the media specialist’s evaluation that suggested he was going to try “to nail” the employee on his evaluation. Plaintiff warned the employee. That employee discussed the issue with Principal Hamka who told plaintiff she would be disciplined for disclosing the confidential information.

Plaintiff complained to Dean about the Principal Hamka’s comments and threat. Dean interpreted plaintiff’s complaint to be about sex discrimination and harassment. The complaint was resolved informally and both plaintiff and the principal committed to working together.

Following the resolution of plaintiff’s complaint, Dean met with Plaintiff to discuss her inappropriate disclosure of Flint’s evaluation of the media specialist and what her discipline would be for making the disclosure. Dean told her that he would hold plaintiff’s discipline in “abeyance” through the end of the school year since he knew she was looking for administrative positions in other school districts.

There it is; a good deed. Dean was trying not to tarnish plaintiff’s work record while she sought other jobs. Of course what follows the good is the punishment: Plaintiff testified that she interpreted this as a threat — that Dean wanted her gone and that if she did not leave the school district by the end of the school year, she would be disciplined.

In June 2015, Gary Niehaus became the new district’s superintendent. He decided to transfer plaintiff to a middle school because she had warned the employee about the performance review and “because of her gender complaint” against Hamka.  Good grief.  Seriously?  Wasn’t there anyone to advise him this was a really, really bad reason for the decision?  I know the school district’s attorney and I bet he about fell over with that testimony. While for two years plaintiff received the reduced wage rate paid to assistant principals at middle schools, Niehaus testified that this had been a mistake and he eventually paid her the difference in back pay.

I am going to skip a lot of the facts but in November 2015 plaintiff took a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for stress, filed a discrimination charge in December 2015 alleging sex discrimination and retaliation and, after she got a right to sue letter from the EEOC, plaintiff filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiff alleged, among other things, sex discrimination and retaliation for complaining about sex discrimination and for taking a FMLA leave. The court granted the school district’s motion for summary judgment and plaintiff appealed.

In short, the appellate court found plaintiff and Flint to be similarly situated and that, while both plaintiff and Flint disclosed confidential information, only Flint received a simple “letter of concern” which did not affect his performance review. By comparison, plaintiff received a “minimally effective” rating on her performance review which resulted in a contract limited to one year, no merit pay or increase and a performance improvement plan which carries with it a threat of termination.

It also found that the transfer to a middle school also satisfied the adverse action requirement for her sex discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII and state civil rights law even though, in the end, she did not suffer a wage cut.  Her transfer outwardly appeared to be not only a loss of prestige but also a loss of salary.  The minimally effective rating on her performance review also had consequences.

Moreover, it was suggested to plaintiff that she should leave (Dean told plaintiff “he didn’t see [her] [belonging at the High School]”  and told her she would only be disciplined if she didn’t find another job before the end of the year) and Niehaus admitted transferring plaintiff, in part, because of the “gender complaint”.  These are not good facts.

There is a lot of analysis by the appellate court concerning the wrongdoing by plaintiff compared to Flint, the different decision makers involved in disciplining the two employees, the proximity in time between the sex discrimination complaint and adverse action, etc.  However, in the end, the discrimination and retaliation claims under the civil rights laws were reinstated.

This case demonstrates several things.  First, as I said above, no good deed goes unpunished.  Second, before taking action against an employee who has complained of discrimination (or in this case because the employee complained), it’s wise to seek legal advice.  And, third, just because an employee is not fired, that doesn’t mean the employer is not at risk for serious civil claims. Consulting with an employment attorney along the way may have saved the school system a lot of trouble, and expense.


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 or at (313) 983-4863. For further information go to:

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. May 2019.

White House Directs Agencies to Tighten Visitor Visa Enforcement

By Alexandra LaCombe


At a glance

  • A recent Presidential Memorandum orders immigration agencies to develop plans that would reduce business visitor and tourist overstays in the United States, including those under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • The Memorandum also orders the agencies to develop enforcement proposals focused on countries with nonimmigrant overstay rates over 10%.

The issue

A new Presidential Memorandum directs the Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to recommend ways to reduce the number of business and tourist visitors who overstay their authorized period of admission in the United States, including those who use the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as well as to take actions to reduce the overstay rates for nonimmigrant visa categories generally.

The Memo directs federal immigration agencies to do the following:

  • Visa Waiver Program recommendations: Within 180 days, DHS must report to President Trump on its ongoing efforts to reduce VWP overstays, as well as provide recommendations for further enforcement with respect to the program.
  • Targeted enforcement for countries with more than 10% B visa overstay rate: DOS, in conjunction with DHS and the Department of Justice, must provide President Trump with recommendations to reduce B overstays from countries with overstay rates over 10%, as identified by the DHS FY 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. Proposed actions against nationals of these countries could include suspension or limitation of travel for current visitor visa holders, suspension of visitor visa issuance, limits to duration of admission to the U.S., and/or additional documentary requirements.
  • Take action to reduce overstay rates for all nonimmigrant visa types: DOS and DHS are ordered to “immediately” take action to reduce the overstay rates of all types of nonimmigrant visas. The memorandum specifically directs DOS and DHS to develop measures to impose admission bonds as a means of enforcing visa compliance across all nonimmigrant categories and submit a status report to the President on this issue.

What the Presidential Memorandum means for employers and foreign nationals

The Memorandum does not have immediate impact on the B-1/B-2 visitor visa program or the Visa Waiver Program, but is part of the Trump Administration’s ongoing focus on visitor visa compliance and enforcement. The Administration has recently added a biometrics screening requirement and new enforcement initiatives for certain nonimmigrants seeking to extend their stays in the United States, including visitors for business and tourism. The Department of Homeland Security is planning to issue a proposed regulation later this year that could place new limits on the visitor visa category.

Increased scrutiny of the visitor visa program and overstays generally highlights the vital importance of compliance with immigration program rules. Organizations may want to take steps to review their business visitor procedures to ensure compliance. All foreign nationals temporarily in the U.S. should ensure they are admitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the correct duration, and that they depart the United States by the expiration of their period of authorized stay. Foreign nationals can view their official duration of authorized stay at the CBP I-94 website.

If you need assistance with this, or any other immigration issue, please contact the author, Alexandra LaCombe, at (248) 649-5404 or Alexandra is a Member of the Legal Affairs Committee of Detroit SHRM and a partner at Fragomen Worldwide.

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. May, 2019

CAPTRUST Announces Performance Results for 2018

 | Raleigh, NC

Firm ended fiscal year with 21.5 percent revenue growth and $65 billion in new client assets

RALEIGH, NC – April 25, 2019– CAPTRUST Financial Advisors (CAPTRUST), one of the nation’s leading independent wealth management and retirement plan advisory firms, released its 2018 calendar year performance results. CAPTRUST concluded 2018 with $65 billion in new client assets, bringing the firm’s total assets under advisement to more than $300 billion. The firm also saw 21.5 percent revenue growth, maintained a 97 percent client retention rate, added 96 new employees, and welcomed five new firms under the CAPTRUST brand.

“In 2018 we reached another growth milestone, crossing the 500-employee mark for the first time in CAPTRUST’s history”, said J. Fielding Miller, CEO, CAPTRUST.“We were also honored by InvestmentNewsas one of its 2019 Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors. This ranking and our continued growth are a testament to our talented team at CAPTRUST and our commitment to putting them at the forefront of all that we do.”

CAPTRUST, which is employee-owned, has recorded a 26.8 percent shareholder total return compounded since 2004. The company saw the addition of 37 new shareholders in 2018 for a total of 294 shareholders, or 57 percent of total employees.

As part of its commitment to give back to the communities it serves, CAPTRUST, along with its 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the CAPTRUST Community Foundation, donated more than $724,000 to worthy causes for a record year of charitable giving in 2018. The organization is well on its way to achieving its goal of donating $10 million by 2026.

“We are always looking for ways to not only attract the best talent, but also to highlight the work, unique ideas, and philanthropic efforts of the talent we currently have at CAPTRUST,” said Rick Shoff, managing director, CAPTRUST. “Our impressive team is the key to our continued success and this growth would not be possible without their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the firm and the communities in which they live.”

CAPTRUST also announced the winners of its annual Brick Awards during the firm’s Advisor Kickoff meeting. The Brick Awards go to employees who exemplify CAPTRUST’s mission to enrich the lives of its clients, colleagues, and communities through sound financial advice, integrity, and a commitment to service beyond expectation. The Brick Award categories and winners include:

  • MVP – Jon Meyer, Chief Technology Officer, Business Operations Group
    • Awarded to the person who has provided the most significant overall contribution to the firm. Set apart from the crowd, the MVP best represents the spirit and goals of the company mission.
  • Client Service – Pat Burger, Senior Client Management consultant, Business Operations Group
    • Awarded to the person who best represents CAPTRUST’s mission to enrich the lives of its clients with service that exceeds expectations. The winner demonstrates an extraordinary level of service, which helps to build relationships and ensure long-term client satisfaction and retention.
  • Community Service – Trae Cole, Client Relationship Manager, Business Operations Group
    • Awarded to the person who best represents the CAPTRUST mission to enhance the lives of people in need within its communities. Recipients of the Community Service Brick demonstrate great passion for helping others and are most generous with the gifts of their time, talent, and resources.
  • Financial Advisor of the Year – Barry Schmitt, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor
    • Awarded to the person that best exemplifies the traits and characteristics of not only an advisor to his or her clients, but also as a mentor and supporter to his or her fellow advisors.
  • Step Up – Pete Ruffel, Institutional Solutions Team Leader, Consulting Solutions Group
    • Awarded to the person who has taken on a major new challenge or accepted additional responsibilities and enhanced the firm by their actions.
  • Rainmaker – Steve Schott, Principal and Director, Institutional Religious Retirement and Foundation Services
    • Given to the financial advisor (or advisory team) who brings the most new business to CAPTRUST in a given year. The award recognizes the advisor’s consulting skills and the necessity to continuously grow the CAPTRUST client base.
  • Innovation Award – Market Value Input Tool
    • Awarded to a CAPTRUST team or teammate who has developed an idea or initiative which benefitted CAPTRUST by improving its process or revolutionizing an approach, product, or service offering.

For media inquiries regarding this press announcement, or to speak to a CAPTRUST spokesperson, please contact: For information about joining the CAPTRUST team, visit:

CAPTRUST Financial Advisors is an independent, employee-owned firm that provides investment advisory services to retirement plan fiduciaries, endowments and foundations, and comprehensive wealth planning services to executives and high-net-worth individuals. Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, the firm represents more than $300 billion in client assets from its offices located across the U.S.