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Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – May 12, 2023

  1. Independent Contractor Bills Introduced in Michigan House of Representatives

Are your workers properly classified? There is a package of bills in the Michigan House of Representatives that businesses should be keeping an eye on.

Why it Matters: The multi-bill package (HB 4390 et seq.) would create one of the strictest standards for defining an independent contractor. In addition to the new, stringent definition for independent contractors in Michigan, the proposed legislation would also drastically increase the penalties for misclassifying a worker. Learn more.


  1. COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Ends

The federal COVID-19 public health emergency order that’s been in effect since the onset of the pandemic expired on May 11.

Why it Matters: With the end of the public health emergency comes the expiration of certain health care coverage options. For example, according to reporting from Bridge Magazine, up to 400,000 Michigan residents may lose Medicaid coverage, and over the counter COVID tests will no longer be required to be fully subsidized by private insurance.

  1. May 24 Business Education Series

During this two-presentation dynamic program, attendees will learn about the SBA 504 Loan from Coty Gould with the MCDC (Michigan Certified Development Corporation), and Government Contracts from Mike Hindenach with APEX (formerly known as PTAC Procurement Technical Assistance Centers).

Why it Matters: The SBA 504 Loan presentation you will learn the basics of SBA 504 loan, the benefits and how to qualify and apply. MCDC is a non-profit certified by the US SBA to administer the SBA 504 Loan Program in Michigan. The SBA 504 loan provides small businesses with low-rate, long-term loans for building purchases, construction, and machinery and equipment. In addition, these loans require a smaller down payment than what traditional lenders can offer, allowing the business owner to preserve capital. Learn more and to register.


  1. Sixth Circuit: Employee Must Alert Employer of Need for Reasonable Accommodation to Bring a Claim of Disability Discrimination

In the case of Hrdlicka v. General Motors, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that an employee must sufficiently inform their employer of their need for a reasonable accommodation in order to prosecute a claim of disability discrimination under state and federal law.

Why it Matters: This case serves as an important reminder that while employers must be responsive and engaged when an employee requests a reasonable accommodation for a disability, there is also a responsibility for employees to inform their employers of a disability. In this case, the plaintiff’s “purported disability was unknown to either herself or General Motors until well after her employment was terminated.”


  1. Limitations of Federal Bankruptcy Law for Marijuana Businesses

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal at the federal level. This creates a unique challenge for marijuana businesses operating legally within their state’s framework.

Why it Matters: Federal bankruptcy courts have been reluctant to provide relief to debtors engaged in activities that are illegal under federal law, even if those activities are legal under state law. As a result, marijuana businesses are often left without the benefits of bankruptcy protection, such as the automatic stay, discharge of debts, and court-supervised reorganization.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher