Michigan Grants Business and Worker Protections Related to COVID-19

Littler
Contact

Littler

On October 22, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed multiple bills that protect Michigan employers that are in compliance with COVID-19-related laws, including agency orders, and protect workers who do not report to work because they were exposed to, display symptoms of, or tested positive for COVID-19.

HB 6030

HB 6030 offers businesses and individuals that are in “compliance with all federal, state and local statutes, rules, regulations, executive orders, and agency orders related to COVID-19” immunity from any COVID-19-related claims. Immunity is not extinguished due to “isolated, de minimis deviation[s]” from compliance. COVID-19-related claims include any tort claim or cause of action related in any way to “exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19” or conduct “intended to reduce transmission of COVID-19.”  

HB 6031

HB 6031 provides immunity to employers that are in compliance with COVID-19-related “statutes, orders, and rules and regulations, executive orders, and agency orders” from claims pursuant to Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration State Plan relating to COVID-19 exposure or illness. As with HB 6030 above, immunity from MIOSHA claims is not extinguished due to “isolated, de minimis deviation[s]” from compliance. In short, employers will be immune from claims that an employee contracted COVID-19 at the workplace, unless the employer is failing to follow COVID-19-related protection laws.

HB 6032

HB 6032 provides protections for workers who were exposed to, are exhibiting symptoms of, or tested positive for COVID-19. Specifically, the new law protects employees who do not report to work under the following circumstances:

  1. An employee who has tested positive or displays principal symptoms1 of COVID-19 shall not report to work until the following are met:
    1. If the employee has a fever, 24 hours since the fever has stopped without use of fever-reducing medication;
    2. 10 days have passed since the first symptom appeared or the date of a COVID-19 positive test result; and
    3. The employee’s principal symptoms of COVID-19 have improved.
  2. An employee who has close contact with an individual who has tested positive for or who displays the principal symptoms of COVID-19 shall not report to work until the following are met:
    1. 14 days have passed since the employee’s last close contact with the individual; or
    2. The individual with whom the employee had close contact is medically determined to not have had COVID-19 at the time of the close contact.

HB 6032 prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for complying with the above stay- at-home requirements, as well as protects workers who oppose an employer’s violation of the act or reports a health violation related to COVID-19. In fact, HB 6032 allows aggrieved workers to bring a private cause of action in circuit court for injunctive relief and money damages, and requires a court to award a plaintiff who prevails in such an action damages of not less than $5,000.

Despite the stay-at-home recommendation above, however, protection does not apply to employees displaying COVID-19 symptoms who fail to make reasonable efforts to schedule a COVID-19 test within three days after a request from their employer to get tested for COVID-19.

Effective Dates

HB 6030, 6031, and 6032 took effect immediately and are retroactive to March 1, 2020. The landscape in Michigan continues rapidly to change and we anticipate additional legislation and orders to follow.

 

Footnotes

​1 Principal symptoms are defined by order of the director or chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In the event a definition is not provided, COVID-19 symptoms means one or more of the following not explained by a known medical condition: (1) fever; (2) shortness of breath; and/or (3) uncontrolled cough. In addition, two or more of the following if not explained by another condition: (1) abdominal pain; (2) diarrhea; (3) loss of taste or smell; (4) muscle aches; (5) severe headache; (6) sore throat; and/or (7) vomiting.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Littler | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Littler
Contact
more
less

Littler on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.