11 July 2023

Time to Dust Off Those Handbooks

No one likes summer homework, but due to passage of several recent pieces of legislation, employers should consider giving their employee handbooks a summer refresh.  Here’s a rundown of four new laws that could merit updates:

  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: The PWFA, which went into effect June 27, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with temporary physical or mental limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. (MJ’s prior blog post on the PWFA may be accessed here.)
  • The CROWN Act: On June 15, Governor Whitmer signed into law the CROWN Act, which expands protections against racial discrimination in Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include “traits historically associated with race” such as hair texture and protective hairstyles like braids, locks, and twists. (MJ’s client alert on the CROWN Act may be accessed here.)
  • Hands-Free Driving Law: Due to Michigan legislation passed last month, drivers are now prohibited from using a cell phone while driving unless the phone is in a voice-operated or hands-free mode, with the phone in a dashboard mount or connected to the vehicle’s touch screen. (MJ’s client alert on the law may be accessed here.)  Employers should make sure all employees whose job requires driving are aware of—and have the equipment to comply with—this new law.
  • LGBT Discrimination: This spring Governor Whitmer signed legislation guaranteeing that state law protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. (MJ’s client alert may be found here.)  If you haven’t done so yet, employers’ equal employment opportunity and anti-harassment policies should be updated accordingly.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the author, Brett Swearingen, or another employment and labor attorney at Miller Johnson if you’d like assistance updating your employee handbook.