Keeping You in the Know on Legislative Updates From Lansing

Legislative Update: Minimum Wage and Paid Medical Leave

The Detroit Regional Chamber has actively engaged legislators since the adoption of the minimum wage and paid medical leave initiatives in September. The Michigan Senate acted swiftly and deliberately yesterday to amend these policies and ensure that they work for Michigan’s employers. As the House of Representatives continues to deliberate this important legislation next week, the Chamber is encouraging legislators to ensure the bills address the unique needs of our state’s employers and support Michigan’s ongoing economic expansion and continued job growth, while honoring the will and intent of Michigan’s residents and the unwavering efforts of so many to enact these reforms.

Chamber Supports Riverfront Growth Through BIZ Reform

Earlier today, the Chamber testified in support of legislation (HB 5720) that would enable the continued growth and success of Detroit’s riverfront by creating a mechanism for a sustainable funding source through changes to Michigan’s Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) statute. The Chamber will continue to advocate in collaboration with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Downtown Detroit Partnership for this important tool to help keep the Rivertown neighborhood clean and secure for commercial and residential property owners, visitors and patrons.

Small Cell Digital Communications Legislation Sent to Gov. Snyder

A proposed law (SB 637) to provide a uniform regulatory framework for the deployment of emerging 5G wireless technology has passed the Michigan Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Snyder’s signature. The Chamber supported this important legislation, building on broader, ongoing efforts to maintain Michigan’s leading role in the development and implementation of next-generation mobility and autonomous vehicle technology.

Legislative Advances for Recent Federal Tax Reforms

This week, SB 1097 and 1170 received legislative action to avoid unintended consequences as a result of recent federal tax reforms. The Chamber is engaging with legislators and encouraging the passage of both bills, which address the definition of taxable income and the tax deduction limitation on pass-through businesses in order to maintain Michigan’s competitive business climate and ensure that employers are not inadvertently penalized through increased tax obligations.





Three Foster Swift Attorneys Named to dbusiness 2019 Top Lawyers

Foster Swift attorneys Michael R. Blum, Lisa J. Hamameh and Frank T. Mamat have been named to the 2019 Top Lawyers list by dbusiness magazine. The dbusiness Top Lawyers list is a peer review survey that polls 19,000 attorneys throughout five counties in the metro Detroit area, among 50 legal specialties. All three attorneys practice from the firm’s Southfield office.

Blum is listed in the area of Labor and Employment Law and practices in the areas of labor law, employment law for both private and public employers, employment litigation and alternative dispute resolutions.

Hamameh is listed as a Top Lawyer in two categories: Land Use and Zoning law and Municipal Law. She complements her practice in the related areas of municipal law, representing cities, townships and villages; liquor licensing law; as well as condominium and homeowners’ association law.

Mamat is also listed in the area of Labor and Employment Law. Mamat focuses his practice on complex labor issues with a special focus on union matters, contract negotiations, OSHA and MIOSHA matters and unfair labor practice litigation among others.

For more information on dbusiness Top Lawyers, visit

Hakala Joins Plunkett Cooney’s Medical Litigation Practice Group

Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, continued the expansion of its medical litigation practice with the recent addition of attorney Justin J. Hakala.

An associate attorney in Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office, Hakala focuses his practice primarily in the area of medical malpractice liability defense. He represents physicians, health systems and hospitals in healthcare litigation and defends claims of alleged professional liability in cases involving birth trauma, cardiac arrest, nursing home care, missed diagnoses and ophthalmology. He has successfully served as first- and second-chair in numerous jury trials.

In addition to his medical malpractice practice, Hakala defends product liability cases. He has experience with mass tort cases involving defective medical devices and other products. Notably, Hakala is the author of the 2016 book titled: “Product Liability in Michigan,” which draws upon his years of experience as a plaintiff attorney as well as his perspectives for the defense.

Named a Rising Star in medical malpractice by Michigan Super Lawyers magazine since 2013, Hakala received his law degree, cum laude, from the Wayne State University Law School in 2009. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2004.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of transactional and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, another leading, international directory of law firms. The firm was also recently selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as its inaugural Law Firm of the Year winner.

For more information about attorney Justin Hakala joining the firm, please contact the firm’s Practice Development Manager John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008;

Site Selectors Get Firsthand Look at a Changed Detroit During TrustBelt Conference

As a host sponsor for this year’s TrustBelt Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Detroit alongside DTE Energy, Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Consumers Energy, the Detroit Regional Chamber received valuable feedback from site selectors and economic development groups around the country about the city’s revitalization.

Focused on convening corporate decision-makers, site consultants and economic development agencies who make location decisions for businesses looking to expand, the TrustBelt Conference offed a unique opportunity for Destination Detroit, the Chamber’s business attraction team, to connect with site selectors and economic development agencies to showcase the region’s rebirth.

Site selectors expressed overall enthusiasm for the city. Many of those in attendance hadn’t visited Detroit since it exited bankruptcy. The Conference focused on continuing to propel the Midwest and especially the Detroit region’s economy. Conversations focused on the unique benefits the Midwest has. With access to Canada, proximity to a major international airport, and a robust talent and labor pool, the Detroit region has advantages that other areas aren’t privy to offering.

The region’s access to logistic and supply chain centers and proximity to the global automotive industry also make it appealing to companies both outside of Michigan and around the globe looking to expand into the U.S. market. However, when it comes to attracting and retaining the right talent, companies in Michigan must do a better job of adapting to the needs of today’s younger workforce.

“It was great to hear feedback on the city’s rebirth and hear firsthand how pleased everyone was to see the transformed city of Detroit,” said Alan Weber, director of Business Development for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Key takeaways:

  • The Detroit region has transformed into an attractive area with many diverse assets that other locations lack, including talent and proximity to the global supply chain.
  • Collaboration is key to moving the region forward.
  • Companies must work to bridge the divide between the aging workforce and younger talent to meet the needs and expectations of both groups.

To learn more about Destination Detroit visit

American Society of Employers (ASE) Releases Preliminary Results to its Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization Survey – Employers are Confident in Responding to New Marijuana Law

Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Communications Manager, ASE, 248.223.8040,

Livonia, Mich. —November 26, 2018 — The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, has released a new survey around the legalization of Marijuana in Michigan – its Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization Survey. The survey results were released by ASE President & CEO, Mary E. Corrado.

“ASE has reacted swiftly to this new law with this survey as well as several briefings for our members,” stated Corrado. “We don’t expect employers to make any sweeping changes to their drug policies and our preliminary results confirm that.”

Michigan is the first Midwestern state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by a vote of 56% to 44%. What does that mean for Michigan employers? The preliminary data from ASE’s Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization Survey provides insight into employers’ first thoughts on where their policies and practices currently stand and what changes, if any, they are considering.

183 organizations from across Michigan have participated in ASE’s Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization Survey. 66% of these organizations are located in the metro Detroit region. 90% of the organizations that responded have 1-500 employees, and nearly 66% of the respondents are classified as manufacturers.

68% of employers have confidence that their organizations’ policies will be able to successfully address their employees’ marijuana usage. Additional insights include:

15% of employers will likely change their policies, while 51% of employers will not.
Of those contemplating change, 42% will remove marijuana testing from their policies altogether, and 31% will ignore any positive marijuana results.
Similar to the stance taken with drug testing policies, half of surveyed employers will not consider making changes to their workplace drug or substance abuse polices/practices. 36% remain unsure, and only 14% will consider making a change.
Although the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act has triggered much interest amongst businesses in Michigan, employers feel confident that their current policies and practices are equipped to handle this new law. “ASE recommends that employers treat marijuana similar to how they treat the use of alcohol amongst employees. Any substance abuse policies should refer to working while under the influence of marijuana, since it will now be a legal substance similar to alcohol,” stated Mary E. Corrado, ASE President & CEO. “We don’t advise employers to alter their current polices at this time.”

Some additional points to consider:

Workers’ Compensation – Employers will have to consider the impact that their drug testing policies may have on Workers’ Compensation premiums. The removal of marijuana testing could lead to hesitation from the carrier to provide the best rates. This will most certainly lead to higher premiums.
Medical Review Officer – When conducting a drug test, results should be certified by a Medical Review Officer who will analyze and validate the results.
Safety Sensitive Positions – If an employee is hired into a safety sensitive position, it would be beneficial to continue drug testing, including marijuana.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization

The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers for over 115 years. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at

Butzel Long attorneys named to DBusiness magazine’s Top Lawyers in metro Detroit 2019

DETROIT, Mich. – Forty-two Butzel Long attorneys have been named Top Lawyers in metro Detroit 2019 by DBusiness magazine. The list appears in the November/December 2018 edition. The attorneys and their practice areas are listed below:

Ann Arbor office

— Jennifer A. Dukarski
Copyright Law

— Mark W. Jane
Employee Benefits Law

— Lynn F. McGuire
Employee Benefits Law

— Mark T. Nelson
Litigation – Labor Employment Benefits

— Claudia Rast
Information Technology Law
Litigation – Intellectual Property

— Angela Emmerling Shapiro
Information Management & Discovery Law

Bloomfield Hills office

— Mark E. Crane
Family Law

— Carey A. DeWitt
Labor and Employment Law
Trade Secrets

— Debra A. Geroux
Health Care Law

— Beth S. Gotthelf
Environmental Law

— D. Stewart Green
Real Estate Law

— Robert A. Hudson
Corporate Law
International Trade Law

— Susan L. Johnson
Environmental Law

— Sheldon H. Klein
Antitrust Law
Litigation – Antitrust

— Max J. Newman
Bankruptcy and Creditor /Debtor Rights Law

— Thomas Radom
Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law

— Joseph E. Richotte
Appellate Law

— Craig S. Schwartz
Labor and Employment Law

— Robert H. Schwartz
Health Care Law
Mergers and Acquisitions Law

— Thomas L. Shaevsky
Employee Benefits Law

— Daniel B. Tukel
Labor and Employment Law

Detroit office

— Linda J. Armstrong
Immigration Law

— James C. Bruno
Corporate Law
International Trade Law
Mergers and Acquisitions Law

— George B. Donnini
White –Collar Criminal Defense

— Arthur Dudley, II
Corporate Law
Mergers & Acquisitions Law
Securities Law

— David F. DuMouchel
Professional Malpractice Law
White-Collar Criminal Defense

— Eric J. Flessland
Construction Law
Litigation – Construction

— Bernard J. Fuhs
Franchise Law
Trade Secrets

— John P. Hancock
Employee Benefits Law
Litigation – Labor and Employment Benefits

— Justin G. Klimko
Corporate Law
Mergers & Acquisitions Law
Securities Law

— Phillip C. Korovesis
Litigation – Commercial

— Mark R. Lezotte
Health Care Law
Nonprofit/Charities Law

— Clara DeMatteis Mager
Immigration Law

— Paul M. Mersino
Trade Secrets

— Donald B. Miller
Labor and Employment Law
Product Liability

— Reginald A. Pacis
Immigration Law

— James S. Rosenfeld
Labor and Employment Law
Litigation – Labor Employment Benefits

— Bruce L. Sendek
Litigation – Antitrust
Litigation – Commercial

— Ivonne M. Soler
Family Law

— Nicholas J. Stasevich
Corporate Law
International Trade Law

— James E. Wynne
Product Liability

Lansing office

— James J. Urban
Litigation – Construction

For the list, DBusiness magazine polled 19,000 attorneys in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties among 50 legal specialties.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law firm offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing and Shanghai. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting or follow Butzel Long on Twitter:

Harold Ford Jr.

Harold Ford Jr. is a former U.S. representative and current political pundit for MSNBC and CNBC. Ford represented Tennessee in the U.S. Congress for 10 years, serving on both the Financial Services and Budget committees, where he actively worked to balance the budget, improve the nation’s education system, and lower taxes on job creators and the middle class. Since leaving office in 2007, Ford continues to promote nonpartisan debate on key issues to promote entrepreneurialism and grow the middle class. He is also a thought leader on topics including examining the implications of changing trade, tax, financial regulation, climate change, health care, and infrastructure investment policy.

Highly regarded for having his finger on the pulse of national politics, Ford is currently driving discussion around how the Democratic Party can reconnect with middle and working-class families following the 2016 presidential election. He is a part-time lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Clayton & McKervey named a Top Workplace by the Detroit Free Press for 8th consecutive year

Southfield, Mich.—Nov. 19, 2018—Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, is pleased to announce it has been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by the Detroit Free Press. It is the eighth ear Clayton & McKervey has been included on the Detroit Free Press list, which ranks the best places to work in Michigan.

“The Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces award is very important recognition for our firm and we are thrilled with our longevity on the list,” Clayton & McKervey President Robert Dutkiewicz said. “Attracting and retaining high achieving, happy staff is critical to our success. Public accounting is a competitive field for talent, and our client service efforts depend on staff that view Clayton & McKervey as a positive place to work and build a long-term career.”

The Top Workplaces list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC. The survey gathers employee responses and measures organizational health in four categories:
1. Alignment – where the company is headed; its values; cooperation
2. Effectiveness – doing things well; sharing different viewpoints; encouraging new ideas
3. Connection – employees feel appreciated; their work is meaningful
4. My Manager – cares about concerns; helps employees learn and grow.

The survey also asks about employee engagement, where Clayton & McKervey scored above the CPA profession average, confidence in company leadership and general questions about pay, benefits, flexibility and training.

Clayton & McKervey promotes a collegial and responsive work environment. The firm, an industry leader in promoting women to partnership and other roles of high-level responsibility, uses its Women’s Network program to engage female leadership talent with a four-tier approach that increases access to role models; improves marketing opportunities; provides education and support for career advancement; and enhances the culture of the firm to ensure the successful retention and recruitment of women.

In addition, Clayton & McKervey’s young leadership training program taps employees before they are managers and turns them into the firm’s leaders of tomorrow through technical training and leadership conferences, off-site learning, daily mentoring and in-house coaching, and community involvement. The firm also emphasizes the importance of making time to have fun and connect outside of working hours to foster visible, deeper levels of engagement with each other and the community.

To see all Top Workplace rankings, click here.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit


’Tis the season…for personal injury claims? As office holiday parties get more adventurous, risk of harm to employees rises

Detroit –Nov. 20, 2018– In recent years, holiday parties have caused increased anxiety for many employers trying to share seasonal joy and good tidings with their employees while putting safeguards in place to avoid sexual harassment claims and drinking and driving infractions and injuries. That’s why Deborah Brouwer, a partner with Detroit-based labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, says it’s curious to note a national trend of employers hosting holiday parties at potentially risky venues and, in at least one case, offering controversial and sometimes downright dangerous holiday gifts.

“A Wisconsin employer recently gave its employees a $500 gift certificate valid towards the purchase of a firearm,” Brouwer said. “Those not interested could substitute the gift card for a different purchase, but the majority said they plan to use the gift certificate for its intended purpose. This practice could put employers directly in harms’ way from a legal standpoint should the employee injure herself or another individual with the weapon, regardless of whether such an incident occurs in the workplace.”

Brouwer added that holiday parties hosted at the newly popular axe-throwing establishments pose similar risks.

“Employers may be inviting trouble by holding their holiday gatherings at any venue where a weapon is involved – and axe throwing, for example, involves weaponry regardless of how novel and safe it may be positioned as a corporate experience,” Brouwer said. “Axe throwing, racing venues and other recreational activities that pose inherent risk of harm should not be hosted by employers in general, and certainly not when alcohol is served.”

Brouwer says employer holiday party guidelines are generally consistent each year, and that this year’s mention of safe venues is an anomaly.

“We are adding the strong suggestion of hosting parties in a safe place when advising employers on holiday party best practices this year,” Brouwer said. “There are still several guidelines for parties that remain constant from year to year.”

Brouwer offers the following considerations:

• Senior management and HR representatives from the organization should attend the party, follow all company policies and set an example for the organization in terms of appropriate behavior.

• The company’s sexual harassment policy should be reviewed prior to the party – and enforced on the spot if questionable behavior becomes evident.

• Remind employees that while the holiday party is meant to celebrate the season and/or their contributions from the past year, the event is still a business function and inappropriate behavior may result in discipline, including termination.

• Ditto for party pictures and social media party posts. Remind staff in advance of the celebration that the company’s social media policy still applies at the event, and that actions will be taken against those who don’t follow the spirit of the policy.

• If alcohol is served and employees (including interns) under the age of 21 will be present, be sure to implement and follow a “We ID” policy.

• For crowd control and better monitoring of party activities, consider limiting parties to employees rather than adding clients and vendors.

• Consider moving celebratory events to Monday or Tuesday evenings rather than Thursday or Friday evenings.

• Invite all employees to the party, but make it clear that attendance is voluntary. Not everyone celebrates the holidays and employees should not feel pressured to attend.

• Don’t drink and drive should be the mantra. If possible, arrange for transportation in advance for employees who may not be able to drive. Shuttles and car services are an excellent option, but can be costly. Consider alternatives, including offering to reimburse employees for cab fares or ride-hailing services.

If your workplace has no definite holiday plans this year – and the aforementioned guidelines haven’t scared you off – Brouwer suggests holding a less formal, alcohol-free breakfast or lunch event on-site and then closing the office early.

“Less formal parties can be a two for one; staff get to celebrate the season with colleagues while also getting paid time off during the busy holiday season – and employers avoid the pitfalls of events where alcohol is served – or weapons are thrown,” Brouwer said.

About Nemeth Law, P.C.
Nemeth Law specializes in arbitration, mediation, workplace investigations, employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation/training for private and public sector employers. It is the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.

The Parade Company Named Member of the Month: Honoring Art Van’s Legacy, Contribution to City

In recognition of its commemoration of Art Van Elslander, a longstanding icon in the Detroit community, the Detroit Regional Chamber has chosen The Parade Company as the Member of the Month for November. The Member of the Month is awarded to Chamber members that are working to uplift Southeast Michigan.

The Parade Company is honoring the memory of Van Elslander, who passed away earlier this year, during the 2018 America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Van Elslander’s company, Art Van Furniture was the primary benefactor of The Parade for nearly 30 years. He is often credited with saving the Parade since underwriting a $200,000 check when The Parade was struggling financially.

The Parade Company will honor Van Elslander with the 2018 theme, “Art!! Heart & Soul!”

For nearly 100 years, America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van has been a one-of-a-kind spectacle, bringing pride and joy to the Motor City. Since its founding in 1924, The Parade has grown to include more than 60 floats, balloons, equestrian units, marching bands, the famous papier-mache heads and the Distinguished Clown Corps and has always served as a positive reminder of what the city has to offer. The Grand Marshal for the 2018 Parade is famed NFL sportscaster Jim Nantz. The Parade will include classic floats from partners such as Art Van Furniture, Ford Motor Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Strategic Staffing Solutions, The Detroit Jazz Festival, and Huntington Bank as well as new floats from Wayne State University, Lear Corporation, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Henry Ford Health Systems, Delta Dental of Michigan and The Skillman Foundation and more.

The Parade kicks off from the corner of Kirby and Woodward Avenue at 8:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning with the live broadcast on WDIV Local 4 at 10 a.m. and online at

There will also be a live play-by-play of the parade from 10 a.m. to noon on 104.3 WOMC

To learn more, visit The Parade Company’s website.