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Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – March 24, 2023

  1. $10 Million Microbusiness Loan Program Launched for Michigan Women, Entrepreneurs of Color

Michigan Women Forward recently announced the launch of a $10 million loan program for women and entrepreneurs of color. The Michigan Economic Opportunity Fund program offers funds to small business owners who may not qualify for more traditional loans.

Why it Matters: Small business startup and expansion is key to Michigan’s economic vitality. This program will help women entrepreneurs who identify as socially and economically disadvantaged due to a lack of access to capital and credit.


  1. Recent NLRB Decision Makes Unlawful the Proffer of a Severance Agreement With Standard “Confidentiality” and “Non-Disparagement” Provisions

In McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58 (2023), the National Labor Relations Board overruled two prior decisions and held that an employer violates the National Labor Relations Act “when it proffers a severance agreement with provisions that would restrict employees’ exercise of their NLRA rights,” including agreements containing reasonably standard confidentiality-of-agreement and non-disparagement provisions.

Why it Matters: The typical “remedy” for a violation of this nature, and the remedy awarded in McLaren, is to “cease and desist” from proffering unlawful language in future severance agreements and post a notice of the immediate violation in prominent places in the employer’s facility.  Now that the new “rule” is announced, however, future remedies could include (a) rescission of the offending agreements; (b) notification of other employees who signed unlawful agreements (subject to the statutory 6-month limitations period) and other remedial orders. Contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.


  1. Michigan Right-to-Work Law Likely to be Repealed Soon

The Michigan Senate approved a bill on March 14 to repeal the state’s right-to-work law that currently allows employees in unionized jobs to opt out of membership and paying dues. The Michigan House previously passed its own version of the bill. Governor Whitmer has indicated she will sign the final bill into law once it reaches her desk.

Why it Matters: It’s time to review current collective bargaining agreements with labor law counsel to prepare for a post-right-to-work environment in Michigan. Employers should also be thinking about their approach to upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations in light of these developments.


  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Hit $216 Million in February

Michigan cannabis sales surpassed $200 million in February, per recent data published by the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $206,378,444.08, which medical sales came in at $10,010,601.91.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market over-saturation that the industry is contending with.


  1. How Trademarks Protect Your Business

Trademarks operate to distinguish your business, build consumer goodwill and solidify your reputation as a source for the goods or services. In most cases, a trademark is a distinctive word, phrase, logo or design that is associated with or applied to a category of goods or services.

Why it Matters: If you are in the business of providing goods or services, then it is strongly recommended that you consult with an intellectual property lawyer to get the best protection in a timely manner. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts