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Michigan Gov. Orders: No Adverse Action Against Workers Who Must Stay Home to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

April 3, 2020

On April 3, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-36 (the “Order). The Order requires certain individuals to stay at home even if they were otherwise allowed to leave home for work as a critical infrastructure worker or otherwise necessary to conduct minimum basic operations under Executive 2020-21 (otherwise known as “Stay Home Stay Safe” Executive Order). The Order also prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who stay home in compliance with the Order.

Individuals Who Must Stay at Home

Under the Order, except for certain limited activities, the following individuals must stay at home or their places of residence:

These individuals are ordered to stay at home by the Order even though they would otherwise be permitted to leave under the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order. In other words, critical infrastructure workers and workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations who would otherwise be allowed to go to work are now not allowed to leave their home if they test positive for COVID-19, display a principal COVID-19 symptom(s), or come in close contact with individuals having COVID-19 or its principal symptoms.

The above-described individuals must not leave their home unless:

When leaving their home, the individuals ordered to stay home by the Order must wear items that cover their nose and mouth but should reserve N95 masks and surgical masks for health care professionals, first responders and other critical workers.

Employers May Not Discipline, Discharge or Retaliate Against Employees Who Must Stay at Home Under This Order

Employers have the following obligations to any employee who meets the definition of an individual who must stay home according to the Order:

On the other hand, an employer may discharge or discipline an employee who is ordered to stay at home by the Order if:

If an employer violates the Order, the Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity has the authority to enforce it in the same manner and to the same extent as the Director may enforce the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act.  However, like the Paid Medical Leave Act, the Order does not allow an employee to bring an action directly against an employer for an alleged violation.

If you have questions about Executive Order No. 2020-36, please call your Miller Canfield attorney or one of the authors of this alert.

This information is based on the facts and guidance available at the time of publication, and may be subject to change.