Creditors use employer garnishment errors to collect entire debt from employers
Employee wage garnishments appear to be informal and somewhat routine proceedings from the perspective of the employer. Employers are routinely sent writs of garnishment on printed forms, and employers can simply respond to writs of garnishment without using an attorney. Employers, however, face a huge risk relative to its employees’ garnishment proceedings because in the State of Michigan, employers can be held liable for the entire debt of the employee that is subject of the garnishment, including court costs and attorney’s fees, if the employer fails to comply with certain requirements. Some creditors are paying attention to the small details that the employer may overlook, because the creditor wants to be repaid and rather than wait around to be paid from the debtor, creditors are using employer garnishment errors to collect the entire debt from the employer. Employers are commonly not represented by counsel in this process and creditors are represented by counsel, providing the creditor a significant advantage.
Failure by employers to respond within 14 days could cause courts to take action against the employer
If an employer is named as the garnishee in a writ of garnishment, the employer must provide information as to the debtor-employee’s money that the employer controls on the Garnishee Disclosure Form, including a calculation of the amount that is available for garnishment from the employee’s paycheck. The properly completed form must be mailed to the court and the parties within 14 days after the employer receives the writ of garnishment. If the employer fails to disclose within the 14 days, the court can take action against the employer and can order the employer to pay the full amount owed on the judgment as stated in the writ of garnishment. A friendly letter to the creditor stating that the employee is no longer in the employer’s records or other information is unavailable is insufficient. The creditor can go to court and obtain a default judgment for the entire amount of the debt because the employer did not properly respond to the writ.
Judge Rules on Employee and Facebook Post
We have previously provided information regarding social media and how employee postings on various websites may or may not affect the employment status of employees. The Acting General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently released a report on August 18, 2011, summarizing the results of 14 employment related cases that center on employees’ use of social media relative to their employment and their employer’s social media policies for employees. The report provides insight into what the NRLB regards as protected speech and also the enforceability of certain social media policies that employers implement. Remember that the NLRB and the National Labor Relations Act apply to most employers, union and non-union alike.
Protected, Concerted Activity
The Perils of Internet Searches Using the Names of Job Applicants
Exposure to Liability
Many employers, in the interest of finding information about applicants or current employees, periodically or routinely conduct internet searches with the name of the person about whom the company desires more information. Many employers discover positive information about the applicant that was not evident on the applicant’s resume and application; however, employers also happen upon other valuable information as well, that indicates an applicant’s faults that may affect job performance if the applicant were to begin work for the company. Facebook, Twitter, Google profiles, MySpace, and LinkedIn can be goldmines for discovering indicators that will not be apparent in the application materials submitted by the applicant to the employer. Although these searches are commonly conducted by employers, the use of internet searches to make hiring decisions regarding certain applicants for a position can expose an employer to liability under Anti-discrimination Laws, whether federal, state or local, Privacy Rights, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, amongst other laws.
Avoiding discrimination claims
If an employer locates a picture of an applicant on the internet, the picture may make evident the applicant’s race, gender or other indicator of a protected class of individuals under, for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Laws. Companies routinely discourage or prohibit applicants from submitting photographs of themselves with their application materials for the very reason that it could subject the employer to discrimination claims if they do not hire the applicant. If the employer locates a photo of the applicant by other means, the employer has continued to expose themselves to a potential discrimination claim. Furthermore, if an applicant has flagged certain organizations or comments on Facebook with the “Like” (thumbs-up) designation, these facts could point to protected classifications that could also lead to a discrimination claim if the applicant is not hired. Also, it is not unusual for an applicant’s religious affiliation or whether or not they served in the armed forces to be evident in their profiles on social media and networking sites.
I’m pleased to announce that one of Michigan’s premier business journals, DBUSINESS, recently announced its 2010 “Top Lawyers” in metropolitan Detroit – and three of the principals with Wright Penning & Beamer made the list.
DBUSINESS compiles its list as a resource and reference guide for its readers. Selection criteria include: Read the rest of this entry »
“In response to this increased risk, we have developed a comprehensive MIOSHA manual that addresses the areas most cited by MIOSHA inspectors.”
With the current economic climate, many businesses are having to re-evaluate their workforce and reduce the number of employees based on economic constraints. This can result in terminated employees filing complaints with various agencies regarding alleged labor violations, including MIOSHA violations. Inspections by governmental agents under MIOSHA can be very costly both in time and money to a business. In response to this increased risk, we have developed a comprehensive MIOSHA manual that addresses the areas most cited by MIOSHA inspectors. It should be noted that MIOSHA inspections do not only occur in manufacturing businesses but can occur in all types of businesses.
The North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) eases the temporary entry of citizens of the United States, Mexico and Canada, whose activities are related to the trade of goods or services, or to investment. Business visitors can be admitted for business purposes under R186(a) and can carry out their activities without the need for a work permit if certain conditions are met. We are providing you this information in the event that you send employees across the border that fit under this exception. If your situation does not qualify under an exception, we can provide you with the documentation necessary to apply for a work permit. (If you are contracting with a Canadian company, you will also need to obtain an LMO. An LMO is a Labour Market Opinion issued by the HRSDC, otherwise known as Service Canada, allowing Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals in a variety of occupations.)
Business Visitors (R187):
Let our experienced lawyers guide you through your employment law dispute
Services Offered: We counsel businesses to help them understand the complexities of employment law and how to avoid problems. We negotiate effective termination and severance agreements where possible, and defend employers against frivolous claims where necessary.
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