Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – July 21, 2023

  1. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Took Effect June 27, 2023

A new federal employment law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), took effect on June 27, 2023. Pursuant to the PWFA, employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to nursing and pregnant employees unless it would cause “undue hardship.”

Why it Matters: Failure to abide by the PWFA can expose employers to liability, including back pay, reinstatement, and reasonable attorney’s fees for an affected employee.


  1. Cannabis to be Removed from State of Michigan Pre-employment Drug Tests Starting This Fall

Beginning October 1, 2023, cannabis will be removed from pre-employment drug tests for most state jobs following a recent vote from the Michigan Civil Service Commission.

Why it Matters: Jobs that require a commercial driver’s license, operate heavy machinery, law enforcement, and healthcare workers are among the sectors not included in this change and still prohibit cannabis use. Learn more.


  1. CRA Publishes June 2023 Data, Average Price Decreases Slightly

Per data from the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail price for adult-use sale of an ounce of cannabis is $89.27, a small decrease from $90.64 in May. This is still a large decrease from the average price in June 2022, when it was $122.43.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.


  1. Client Alert: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2023!

In Notice 2022-59 the Internal Revenue Service set forth the PCORI amount imposed on insured and self-funded health plans for policy and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023.

Why it Matters: Notice 2022-59 sets the adjusted applicable dollar amount used to calculate the fee at $3.00. Specifically, this fee is imposed per average number of covered lives for plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023. For self-funded plans, the average number of covered lives is calculated by one of three methods: (1) the actual count method; (2) the snapshot method; or (3) the Form 5500 method. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.


  1. Supreme Court Strikes Down Affirmative Action in Higher Education

On June 29, 2023, in a 6–3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Harvard’s, and the University of North Carolina’s admissions programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act.

Why it Matters: The Supreme Court held that both universities’ admissions programs violated equal protection. While the Court had permitted race-based college admissions as an exception to the Equal Protection Clause in the past, it did so on the basis that such programs satisfy the “strict scrutiny” standard, could not utilize race as a stereotype, and had to be finite. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig
Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – July 7, 2023

  1. NLRB’s Atlanta Opera Ruling Imposes Stricter Independent Contractor Test on Employers

On June 13, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled in the closely watched The Atlanta Opera, Inc. case, restoring the multifactor common-law framework the NLRB established in 2014 for worker classification.

Why it Matters: The ruling is significant because it establishes the test for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”); the test—a return to pre-2019 standards—makes it harder to classify workers as independent contractors, and independent contractors are excluded from the NLRA’s protections for labor organizing activities. Learn more on the subject.


  1. New Federal Law Expands Rights for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers in the Workplace

The federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) took effect on June 27, 2023, and requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, such as providing more frequent bathroom breaks.

Why it Matters: The PUMP Act requires employers to provide a private lactation space and break times during work for nursing mothers. Contact a Fraser Trebilcock employment law attorney with questions or for assistance.


  1. U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Affirmative Action

The United States Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in a ruling recently, when they ruled against the admissions plans of two colleges, Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

Why it Matters: The ruling is causing higher education institutions to review their own admissions process in seeking out a diverse student body. Contact your Higher Education Fraser Trebilcock attorney for any questions.


  1. $82 Billion State Budget Approved for Fiscal Year 2024

Last week, the Michigan State Legislature with some bipartisan support approved the $82 billion state budget that will take effect later this year on October 1.

Why it Matters: Looking into the budget, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will receive more than $36 million more in funding than last year, the public universities located across the state will receive $2.2 billion, including $482 million from the School Aid Fund under the School Bus budget bill. Community colleges will receive $544 million from the School Aid Fund.


  1. Michigan’s New Distracted Driving Law Took Effect June 30

In an effort to mitigate the risks associated with distracted driving, Michigan recently enacted legislation meant to deter and punish instances of distracted driving. Michigan is the 26th state in the United States to pass a hands-free driving law, signifying the growing national consensus around the importance of focused driving.

Why it Matters: The new law, which took effect June 30, 2023, makes holding and using a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle illegal. Learn more about the new law from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers