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Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 31, 2023

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

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. Learn more on the topic.


  1. 2023 April Business Education Series

During the April Business Education Series, Emmie Musser, senior portfolio marketing manager, ​TechSmith, will share what we learned and best practices to positively impact employee satisfaction, job attitude, productivity, and innovation.

Why it Matters: Not all meetings can or should be replaced, but identifying which ones can and how to replace them will offer your organization greater flexibility and productivity and more dedicated “think” time. Hosted at the Lansing Regional Chamber on Tuesday, April 11. Full details and to register.


  1. Michigan Right-to-Work Law Repealed

On March 24, 2023, Governor Whitmer signed into law a bill that repeals the state’s right to work law. 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.

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. How Copyrights Protect Your Business

Copyright is the exclusive legal protection that covers an original work of authorship. Copyrights vest upon creation of the work, which means placing the work onto a tangible medium (e.g., applying paint to a canvas or words to a screenplay).

Why it Matters: As noted above, copyrights vest upon creation of the work, even if it isn’t published. Similar to trademark law, it can be difficult to enforce your copyright if the work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Learn more.


  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.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts