Is Your Employee Handbook Legal?

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 […]

By | May 3rd, 2016|Labor|0 Comments

U.S. Sees Lowest Unemployment Claims Since 1973

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.

By | April 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Failure to Pay Overtime Has a Cost

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 […]

By | March 23rd, 2016|Labor|0 Comments

Recent Changes to Michigan’s Minimum Wage

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 […]

By | March 8th, 2016|Labor|0 Comments

How Can You Become Certified to Apply Pesticides?

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 […]

By | February 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Job Duties That Can Be Classified as Exempt

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 […]

By | November 7th, 2015|FLSA, Labor|0 Comments

Defining Exempt vs Non-Exempt Workers

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 […]

By | November 3rd, 2015|Labor|0 Comments

How is Overtime Calculated For an Employee With Multiple Wages?

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 […]

By | November 2nd, 2015|Labor, Snow Removal|0 Comments

Entrepreneur recognizes MeritHall on “Entrepreneur 360” list

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 […]

By | October 28th, 2015|Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

How much salt is used each year in the United States?

According to the Salt Institute the United States applied roughly 17,000,000 tons of road salt during the winter of 2013-2014. Other reports say that more than 20,000,000 tons of salt are applied on our roadways every winter.

To put that into perspective, that equates to:

  • 124lbs of salt per person in the United States (there are 322 million)
  • 158lbs of salt for every car or truck on the road in the US (there are 253 million)
  • ~15x more salt than is used each year by the entire US food processing industry (source)
By | October 22nd, 2015|Salt, Snow Removal|0 Comments