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Showing 10 posts in Legislative Updates.

New State Recreational Marijuana Law Hints at the Hazy Future of Workplace Drug Testing

Drug Test FormCurrently, there are 17 states (plus two United States territories and the District of Columbia) that permit the use of recreational marijuana. The trend across the country seems to be in favor of legalization of cannabis-related products for both medicinal and recreational use. As that trend continues and the use of recreational marijuana increases, we anticipate new challenges will arise for employers and their insurance carriers. For instance, how will this trend impact post-injury drug screenings?

If the use of recreational marijuana is legal in a given jurisdiction, will it remain permissible for an employer to terminate an employee based solely on a positive drug screening? Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, Employment, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

Court of Appeals Rules: Employee Fraud was Never a Condition for Recoupment Action

Employee InjuryThe Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion discussing the retroactivity of a prior opinion regarding the right of employers and insurance carriers to seek recoupment of benefits overpaid to an injured worker in the absence of fraud by the worker. Norman Carson v Bandit Industries Inc and Acuity Mutual Insurance Co, __ Mich App _ (2020). Read More ›

Categories: Fraud & Abuse, Insurance, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

Deputy Director of LEO Issues New Emergency Rule Affecting Workers’ Compensation

Workers' Compensation Claim FormOn October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the law upon which Governor Gretchen Whitmer relied to extend the State of Emergency after April 30, 2020 is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's ruling, which we discuss here, invalidates the Governor's Executive Orders issued during the extended State of Emergency. Executive Order 2020-128, issued on June 18, 2020, established a rebuttable presumption that a "COVID-19 Response Employee" (a term which was not well-defined within the Executive Order) has sustained a compensable injury when he or she is diagnosed with COVID-19. Executive Order 2020-128 contained language quite similar to the March 30, 2020 Emergency Rule issued by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity ("LEO"). Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

Recent Michigan Supreme Court Decision Affects Workers' Comp COVID-19 Rebuttable Presumption

Court RoomOn October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding whether Governor Gretchen Whitmer had the authority to declare and extend a State of Emergency and issue Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lengthy opinion, the Court held that the Governor did not have proper authority because the law upon which she relied is unconstitutional.  Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

The Safeguarding America's First Responders Act - New Federal Law Provides Access to Death Benefits Program for Families of Public Safety Officers who Die as a Result of COVID-19

Firefighter with MaskThere have been nearly seven million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, with over 200,000 confirmed deaths. In Michigan alone, there have been over 130,000 confirmed cases and roughly 7,000 confirmed deaths. Certain employees working in the health field, including first responders, have been impacted significantly by COVID-19.

In a previous article, we discussed the Emergency Rules and Executive Orders promulgated by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, creating a rebuttable presumption that COVID-19 is a personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment for first response employees. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

Updated Protections for COVID-19 Response Employees: The Differences Between the Prior Emergency Rules and Recent Executive Orders

Firetruck First RespondersThere have been nearly 70,000 confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in Michigan. This figure includes over 6,150 deaths. While other areas of the country are experiencing significant increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases, Michigan appears to have flattened the curve for the time being. We are currently averaging around 250 new cases per day. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

Michigan Legislators Propose Amendment to Workers’ Compensation Law to Benefit Certain COVID-19 Positive Employees

Face MasksAs you will recall, the Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity promulgated Emergency Rules (“Rules”) on March 30, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we discussed in a previous blog post, the Rules establish a rebuttable presumption of personal injury for “first response employees” who are diagnosed with COVID-19. Now, the Michigan legislature is getting involved in the issue. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

Psychiatric Workers’ Compensation Disability Claims in a Pandemic Environment

Psychiatric ClaimsThere are scores of workers on the front lines fighting the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic – doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, grocery store cashiers, truck drivers, food delivery workers, and those deemed to be “essential workers,” just to name a few. While many of these workers are accustomed to and trained for emergency situations, the current worldwide health crisis is unprecedented in nature and scope. Brick and mortar hospitals are at capacity in many geographic areas, field hospitals are being constructed, protective equipment is in short supply, and the number of people diagnosed with, and who have died of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus are growing. Little is known about the COVID-19 virus – our knowledge about how it is transmitted, treatment options, and prevention is evolving – but much remains unknown. The media has barraged us with around-the-clock news of the human loss and the economic consequences of the pandemic. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

What is a Good-Faith Job Search Effort? Michigan Legislature Considers New Bill

MCL 418.301(5) sets forth the four requirements a claimant must satisfy in order to qualify for workers' compensation wage loss benefits.  The claimant must:

  1. Disclose his qualifications and training,
  2. Provide a list of jobs he is qualified and trained to perform within the same salary range as the job at which he was injured,
  3. Demonstrate that the work-related injury prevents him from performing the jobs he identified as within his qualifications and training that pay maximum wages, and
  4. If he is capable of performing any of the jobs within his qualifications, he must demonstrate that he cannot obtain any of those jobs by showing a good-faith attempt to procure post-injury employment

When analyzing the fourth element, how does a magistrate determine what is and what is not a good-faith job search effort? For more on what constitutes a good faith job search effort, see full article here.

Categories: Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

Michigan Considers a Statutory PTSD Presumption Among First Responders

Hand Holding GavelOn April 17, 2019, three Michigan State Representatives introduced House Bill No. 4473 to the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Insurance. With the introduction of this bill, these legislators seek to have Michigan join several other states across the nation that have enacted, or are considering, workers' compensation legislation that creates a rebuttable presumption that a first responder's post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") arose out of and occurred in the course of their employment. For more on this case, see full article here.

Categories: Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation