By:  Claudia D. Orr

Everyone working in Human Resources in Michigan knows that you cannot ask an applicant about any misdemeanor arrest that did not result in a conviction because it is prohibited under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.  Everyone also knows that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission frowns upon “the box” on employment applications asking if the applicant has ever been convicted of any crimes. 

But, did you know that companies having contracts (for goods or services valued at $25K or more) with the City of Detroit are prohibited from asking about criminal convictions of the applicant for a position that will fulfill the terms of the city contract before the job interview or until the applicant has been determined to be qualified for the position?  City of Detroit, Code of Ordinances, Div 6, § 18-5-81, et seq. Moreover, someone must sign an affidavit provided by the city that attests to being in compliance with the ordinance.  There may be other cities having this sort of ordinance, so you should check with the cities granting your company contracts.

There is another trend that may eventually pop up in Michigan and that is a prohibition against asking an applicant about their prior pay rates. The idea is that, if the previous employer engaged in wage discrimination, it may perpetuate the lower wage rate repeatedly. 

During the first week of April, the New York City Council passed such an ordinance by a 48:2 vote hoping to close the gender wage gap disproportionately affects minorities especially Hispanics and African Americans. New York’s Governor signed a similar measure to protect public sector hires.  NBC News reports that there have been at least 180 bills introduced nationwide and that, while nearly 50 have failed, seven were enacted and dozens are still pending.

On March 17, HR Morning reported that similar measures have already been enacted in New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts. 

A lawsuit was filed April 6, 2017, challenging the wage equity amendment (prohibiting the wage questions) to Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance: Protection Against Unlawful Discrimination. Phila. Code §§ 9-1103, 9-1131. The amendment not only subjects offenders to civil penalties but also criminal penalties including up to 90 days in jail for a repeated offense.

Public Advocate Letitia James (who introduced the New York City bill in August) is quoted as saying: “Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequality.” 

The rules are always changing for employers and it is hard to stay current.  And, it’s even harder to know what you don’t know… If you haven’t had your employment application reviewed lately (or your employee handbook), there is no time like the present.  Contact an experienced employment attorney, such as the author, to ensure your company is not running afoul of new laws or regulations or missing out on potential defenses.

This article was written by Claudia D. Orr, who is Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of Detroit SHRM, 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 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. April 2017.

Medical Resident Can Sue for Sexual Harassment Under Title IX

By Karen L. Piper

Jane Doe was accepted into the medical residency program at Mercy Catholic Medical Center, which is affiliated with Drexel University’s College of Medicine, in fall 2011.  As required by the residency program, Doe attended morning lectures and afternoon case presentations, attended a mandatory physics class, attended monthly lectures and sat for annual examinations to assess her progress and competence.

Doe complained several times that the director of the residency program sexually harassed her and retaliated against her for complaining about his behavior.  When she complained to Human Resources, she was referred to a psychiatrist.  In April 2013, Doe complained again and again was referred to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist told Doe that all of the other residents loved the director and Doe should apologize to him.  Doe did, but the director said it was not sincere.  He recommended that she be terminated from the residency program and she was.

Exactly two years later, in April 2015, Doe sued the Medical Center in federal district court under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by an education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.  The district court dismissed the case because it considered Doe an employee, and she should have sued under Title VII after filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) reversed.  It agreed that Doe was an employee but ruled she was not limited to Title VII remedies.  Doe also could sue under Title IX because the medical residency program was an education program or activity that received federal financial assistance in the form of Medicare payments.  The Third Circuit reinstated her retaliation and quid pro quo sexual harassment claims because Doe was dismissed from the residency program within two years before she filed suit.  Doe’s hostile environment claim was time-barred because the alleged harassment did not occur within two years before she filed suit. Doe v Mercy Catholic Medical Center (3rd Cir. March 7, 2017).

The Third Circuit’s decision, in this case, is consistent with decisions in the First Circuit, Sixth Circuit (covering Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee) and Fourth Circuit but contrary to decisions in the Fifth and Seventh Circuits, which have ruled that Title VII is a medical resident’s exclusive remedy.  As a result of the split of opinions, this case may be headed to the United State Supreme Court.

This case involved a hospital residency program.  However, the opportunity to sue an employer without exhausting the EEOC’s administrative remedies could be extended to all educational institutions which receive federal financial assistance, e.g., colleges and universities.  For further information, consult an experienced employment attorney, such as the author.

This article was written by Karen L. Piper, who is Secretary of the Board of Detroit SHRM, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, and a Member of Bodman PLC, which represents employers, only, in Workplace Law. Ms. Piper can be reached at Bodman’s Troy office at (248) 743-6025 or 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. April 2017.

QuadWest Seminar Highlights Trump Administration from a Human Resource Perspective


QuadWest Associates, a human resources management firm serving companies in Southeast Michigan, today announced the availability of a recorded webcast that featured President and founder Susan West and Equity Partner James M. Reid IV, of Maddin Hauser Roth & Heller, PC. The session is devoted to how human resource professionals should approach the workplace in light of the Trump administration’s priorities and approaches to regulations governing business conduct.

Topics covered in this informative, hour-long webinar include the status of various government initiatives that impact workplace legislation and enforcement:

  • Overtime and the current administration’s regulatory freeze
  • Immigration and the H-1B visa program
  • ACA repeal and replace
  • Employment discrimination: increasing state and local ordinances

The session is an officially sanctioned educational opportunity and qualifies for 1.5 professional development credits for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification.

“This informative session with attorney James M. Reid IV is designed to guide HR professionals in the changing workplace environment,” stated QuadWest President and Founder Susan E. West, SPHR, SHRM-SCP. “Business will continue as the new administration determines its approach to regulations and legislation as it relates to the workplace. HR professionals, in particular, want to ensure their companies are in compliance with the spirit and letter of the law.”

Access the webcast here.

About QuadWest Associates
Founded in 2004, QuadWest is a management consulting firm with a passion for uplifting Human Resource functions within small to mid-sized companies. Our team of professionally trained HR Business Partners supports a company’s success by providing strategically-focused, practical HR management guidance. We specialize in business-driven HR consulting services, onsite and offsite, in the areas of HR operations set-up, employee relations, training, performance management, compliance/risk management, leadership development/coaching, recruiting and workplace investigations. Our success stems from our commitment to providing clients with the right HR services that meet their needs, calling on the breadth and depth of our talented team’s HR expertise.

For more information, please go to 

Detroit SHRM Chapter Announces Its Newest Board Members and Key Committee Directors




Detroit SHRM is proud to announce the appointment of two new board members:

  • Debra Williams is President Elect. Debra is an Executive Vice President with Right Management, a global talent and career management consulting firm. Her diverse career includes human resources and operations executive and senior leadership roles in healthcare, education and business
  • Michelle Hansel is the new Membership Services Liaison. Michelle is the Vice President for Human Resources at the Detroit Regional Chamber, and brings with her more than two decades of dedicated HR and strategic business partnership experience.

Also joining the DSHRM leadership team this year are the following Chapter Committee Directors:

  • Education Committee Director: Bill Fairlie. Bill has held several VP & Director-level HR leadership roles, most recently at Cinram & TriMas. Bill will be bringing his strategic & visionary HR leadership experience to ensure continued high-level HR educational & networking events.
  • Member Services Committee Director: Denis Nicole. Denis currently serves as the Interim Vice President, Human Resources for the Burroughs Corporation. He has more than three decades of HR experience and is also District Chief in the Farmington Hills Fire Department.
  • Marketing Committee Director: Kelly Houghteling. Kelly supports Talent Acquisition for North American Bancard, specializing in IT and hard-to-fill positions. Her university education was in the field of Marketing and Communication, and she worked for several years in that field, before transitioning into HR. She brings a unique, dual-industry focus to her Committee.
  • Strategic Partners Committee Director: Susan West. Susan is the founder and owner of QuadWest Associates, a strategic HR and management consulting firm with clients throughout Southeast Michigan. Prior to founding QuadWest in 2004, Susan earned an MBA and worked in a variety of Human Capital and Program Management roles.
  • Government & Community Affairs Committee Director: Kristi Stuetzer. With a graduate degree in Management and nearly two decades of professional HR experience, Kristi is an accomplished HR business leader with an impressive record of achievement. In addition, Kristi is an active community volunteer, donating her time to Easter Seals, the American Red Cross, and Oakland County Youth Assistance, in addition to her work with DSHRM.

The board and committee leadership work together to promote and foster Detroit SHRM’s Mission to help human resource professionals in Southeast Michigan develop their talent and build their networks. We wish you much success in your roles and look forward to the leadership you bring to DSHRM!

Media Contacts: For more information, call or email Detroit SHRM at 248-643-6590 and, or visit our website at Also, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Detroit SHRM

Detroit SHRM is the largest Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)-affiliated chapter in Michigan with members representing diverse companies located throughout Southeast Michigan, including Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Plunkett Cooney attorneys among 2016 ‘Best Lawyers in America’

Plunkett Cooney


Thirty Plunkett Cooney attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® for 2016.

First published in 1983, Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which lawyers within their own geographic region nominate their peers. These lawyers are not allowed to select nominees from the same area(s) in which they practice. Inclusion in Best Lawyers (Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC) is considered a singular honor because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed.

Receiving special honors from Best Lawyers this year is Plunkett Cooney attorney Stanley C. Moore, III who was named Detroit “Lawyers of the Year” in Labor Law – Management. This designation is given to only a single attorney in each practice area in each community. Moore has been on the list of The Best Lawyers in America® since 2008.

An of counsel attorney at Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms in Michigan, Moore devotes his practice exclusively to representing management in labor and employment law matters. He has represented both private and public sector employers in all facets of labor and employment law in union and non-union settings. Moore has represented healthcare providers in all aspects of both state and federal labor and employment law since 1973.

Below is a list of additional Plunkett Cooney attorneys who have received the 2016 Best Lawyers designation:

Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Best Lawyers:

  • Michael P. Ashcraft (partner) – Legal Malpractice Law
  • Douglas C. Bernstein (partner) – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law
  • William D. Booth (of counsel) – Personal Injury Litigation. He has the distinction of being named to the Best Lawyers list for over 25 years.
  • Charles W. Browning (partner) – Insurance Law
  • Lawrence R. Donaldson (of counsel) – Professional Malpractice Law
  • Michael A. Fleming (partner) – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Jeffrey C. Gerish (partner) – Appellate Law
  • Gregory Gromek (partner) – Personal Injury Litigation
  • Robert G. Kamenec (partner) – Appellate Practice
  • Mark S. Kopson (partner) – Health Care Law
  • David A. Lerner (partner) – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Mary Massaron (partner) – Appellate Law
  • Saulius K. Mikalonis (senior attorney) – Environmental Law
  • Scott H. Sirich (partner) – Construction Law and Litigation
  • Thomas P. Vincent (partner) – Commercial Litigation 

Plunkett Cooney’s Columbus, Ohio Best Lawyers:

  • Amelia A. Bower (partner) – Real Estate Litigation
  • Jack S. Levey (senior attorney) – Real Estate Law

Plunkett Cooney’s Detroit, Michigan Best Lawyers:

  • Loretta M. Ames (senior attorney) – Product Liability Litigation
  • Jennifer Andreou (partner) – Medical Malpractice Law
  • James R. Geroux (partner) – Workers’ Compensation Law
  • Laurel F. McGiffert (partner) – Medical Malpractice Law
  • Claudia D. Orr (senior attorney) – Employment Law
  • Stanley A. Prokop (partner) – Insurance Law
  • Mary Catherine Rentz (partner) – Insurance Law

Plunkett Cooney’s East Lansing, Michigan Best Lawyer:

  • David K. Otis (partner) – Municipal Law and Litigation

Plunkett Cooney’s Indianapolis, Indiana Best Lawyer:

  • Stephen J. Peters (partner) – Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law and Construction Litigation 

Plunkett Cooney’s Kalamazoo, Michigan Best Lawyers:

  • Michael S. Bogren (partner) – Municipal Law and Litigation
  • Keith A. Peterson (senior attorney) – Banking and Finance Law

Plunkett Cooney’s Petoskey, Michigan Best Lawyer:

  • Jerome A. Galante (partner) – Personal Injury Litigation 

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms and is listed among the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” in 2015. Plunkett Cooney has also received awards naming the firm as a top place to work within the legal industry.

For more information about Plunkett Cooney’s 2016 “Best Lawyers in America,” contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008;

OFCCP Publishes Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination Fact Sheet

Detroit SHRM


By: Karen L. Piper


To publicize the rights of applicants and employees of federal contractors and subcontractors to work in an environment free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) has issued a new Worker Fact Sheet.  The Fact Sheet can be downloaded from

The Fact Sheet states employees are entitled to be free from harassment, demotion, termination, lesser wages, and less favorable treatment because of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Specifically, a federal contractor cannot:

  • Ask employees or job applicants for any information or identification that they do not ask for from all other employees or job applicants, including medical information related to their gender identity;
  • Refuse employees and job applicants the ability to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity;
  • Harass employees and job applicants because of their sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Deny lawfully married same-sex spouses the same benefits they provide to opposite-sex spouses; or
  • Deny same-sex partners in civil unions or domestic partnerships the same benefits they provide to heterosexual partners in such relationships.

The Fact Sheet also provides information on how to file a complaint with the OFCCP or EEOC.

If you have questions about whether your organization is a federal contractor or subcontractor, contact the author or other experienced employment counsel.

This article was written by Karen L. Piper, who is Secretary of the Board of Detroit SHRM, a member of its Legal Affairs Committee, and a Member of the law firm of Bodman PLC, located in its Troy MI office. She can be reached at (248) 743-6025 or

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. August 2015.

Magazine names Plunkett Cooney national ‘Go-To’ firm for litigation

Plunkett CooneyBloomfield Hills, MI — For the third consecutive year, Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, has been named by American Lawyer Media (ALM) as a “Go-To” law firm in the area of litigation for companies ranking among the Fortune 500.

Law firms on the Go-To list are determined by the “Who Represents Corporate America” feature that appears annually in Corporate Counsel magazine. Each fall, the publishers of Corporate Counsel magazine choose a select group of firms as Go-To Law Firms® for the Top 500 companies.

Firms are chosen based on data obtained from ALM Legal Intelligence searches in public records such as Lexis CourtLink, as well as searches in PACER, a service that provides online access to U.S. appellate, district and bankruptcy court records and documents nationwide. This research determines which law firms represent America’s largest corporations in key litigation areas, including contract litigation, tort litigation and labor and employment law, among many others.

The 2015 Go-To Law Firms® were featured in ALM’s In-House Law Departments at the Top 500 Companies, a directory of the legal representation of the corporate elite. This directory was distributed to over 20,000 general counsel across the nation, including all subscribers of Corporate Counsel magazine. 

Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of transactional and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm’s litigation services include appellate law, business litigation, construction law, environmental liability, healthcare law, insurance law, labor and employment law, marine liability, motor vehicle liability, medical malpractice, municipal liability, product liability, professional liability, title insurance and workers’ compensation.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs over 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms and is listed among the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” in 2014. Plunkett Cooney has also received several awards naming the firm as a top place to work within the legal industry. 

For more information about Plunkett Cooney named as a Go-To Law firm, contact the firm’s Practice Development Manager John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008;