About Elle Shutty

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So far Elle Shutty has created 11 blog entries.

Is Your Employee Handbook Legal?

By | May 3rd, 2016|Labor|

A National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge ruled that Quicken Loans, along with 4 other related companies, had to change their employee manual to remove parts that could be infringing on their workers’ rights. The manual was 200 pages long and was called the “Big Book.” The NLRB ALJ told Quicken Loans they needed to make 24 revisions to the employee manual and post a notice to employees acknowledging that the company had made a mistake.

One of the quotes from the “Big Book” deemed too broad:

“The Company’s buildings, offices, common areas, facilities, parking lots, automobiles, data centers, mail rooms and […]

U.S. Sees Lowest Unemployment Claims Since 1973

By | April 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped to a level that hasn’t been seen since 1973. This is a good sign that the U.S. economy is recovering from the recession. In terms of hiring however, this could mean that companies will have a lot of competition when trying to hire new employees.

Bloomberg chart

Image source: Bloomberg News

For more information, see this article.

Failure to Pay Overtime Has a Cost

By | March 23rd, 2016|Labor|

The U.S. Department of Labor recently sued a drywall company in Oregon for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company, Westside Drywall, Inc., paid their employees piece-rate wages and didn’t compensate for overtime. The company was ordered to pay $800,000 to workers for back wages and liquidated damages, and this amount could go up as litigation continues.

“We will not tolerate employers, like Westside Drywall, that cheat workers out of their hard-earned wages by ignoring their legal responsibilities,” said Thomas Silva, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Portland. “This lawsuit sends a clear message that […]

Recent Changes to Michigan’s Minimum Wage

By | March 8th, 2016|Labor|

In May of 2014, a law passed in Michigan to steadily increase the minimum wage over the next few years.

Effective Date  Minimum
Wage Rate
 Before September 1, 2014 $7.40
 September 1, 2014 $8.15
 January 1, 2016 $8.50
 January 1, 2017 $8.90
 January 1, 2018 $9.25


As of this January, the $8.50/hr wage is in effect. This is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and the higher of the federal and the state minimum wages applies. You can read this page on LARA’s website for exceptions to this rule in the case of wages paid for training and wages paid to workers aged 16-17.

Will the Michigan minimum […]

How Can You Become Certified to Apply Pesticides?

By | February 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Due to the potentially dangerous nature of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), you and your business must be licensed by the state to apply them commercially. Being properly trained in their safe handling and application keeps pesticides and fertilizers from endangering both humans and the environment.

In the State of Michigan

To acquire a Michigan pesticide applicator’s license, you must take and pass at least two tests. One must be the CORE exam, and at least one other must be in a specific pesticide category. The categories most commonly used in lawn maintenance are:

  • 3A: Turfgrass pest management
  • 3B: Ornamental pest management
  • 6: Right-of-Way pest management

Tests […]

Job Duties That Can Be Classified as Exempt

By | November 7th, 2015|FLSA, Labor|

Recent lawsuits have demonstrated that some employers aren’t clear on whether or not an employee can be classified as “exempt” according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. But misclassifying an employee can have disastrous financial repercussions in the form of owed back wages, so it is important to understand the difference.

The three requirements for an exempt employee are as follows:

Salary Level Test

Employees who are paid more than $23,600 per year ($455 per week) pass this test.

Salary Basis Test

An employee is paid on a salary basis if s/he has a guaranteed minimum* amount of money […]

Defining Exempt vs Non-Exempt Workers

By | November 3rd, 2015|Labor|

What is the difference between exempt and non-exempt workers?
Exempt employees are not governed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and therefore are not subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA. Exempt employees are salaried.
All non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week. Non-exempt employees are usually paid hourly. They can be salaried, but are still eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours.
If an employee is misclassified as exempt, their employer may be responsible for back wages, including overtime.

What is overtime?
An employer must pay overtime when hours worked exceed […]

How is Overtime Calculated For an Employee With Multiple Wages?

By | November 2nd, 2015|Labor, Snow Removal|

In some jobs, employees are paid two different wages based on what type of work they are doing. For example, an employee for a snow removal company might make $20 an hour when performing snow removal activities. While performing any other duties, this employee is paid $10 an hour. If they work 50 hours in one week, at which wage is their overtime calculated?

The fair and legal wage to pay overtime in a case like the one described above is to find the weighted average wage for that week and pay the employee time and a half on that wage.

How […]

Entrepreneur recognizes MeritHall on “Entrepreneur 360” list

By | October 28th, 2015|Entrepreneurship|

Entrepreneur magazine recently released the results of their “Entrepreneur 360” study, which looked at entrepreneurial companies across America. They sought to figure out what the most successful ones had in common and they found that companies could be grouped into 6 categories:

  1. Best Practicers
  2. Data Champions
  3. Controllers
  4. Classics
  5. Forward Thinkers
  6. Contrarians

Entrepreneur classified MeritHall as a Controller, a group they described as “know[ing] what their customers want before their customers even ask.”

The companies classified as Controllers represented a wide spectrum of industries, but what they all had in common was a focus on market research and understanding their suppliers and customers. We are honored to be named […]

What is the H-2B program?

By | October 19th, 2015|Labor|

The H-2B program is a government program that allows U.S. companies to bring in qualified employees to fill temporary or seasonal positions that they cannot fill with U.S. workers. To participate, a company must prove that there aren’t enough U.S. workers able or willing to fill their seasonal positions. There are many safeguards in place to protect the foreign workers as well as the employer’s U.S. workers. In April 2015, an Interim Final Rule was enacted by the Department of Labor that sets up increased protections for employees and increased responsibilities for […]