Michigan Expands its Preemption Law to Cover Interview Limitations

On March 26, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that prohibits local governments from regulating the information employers can request from prospective employees during the interview process.  Public Act 84 amends the Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act (MCL §123.1384), passed in 2015, which imposes a similar restriction on local governments regarding the information employers can request on an employment application.

Public Act 84 provides that “[a] local governmental body shall not adopt, enforce, or administer an ordinance, local policy, or local resolution regulating information an employer or potential employer must request, require, or exclude on an application for employment or during the interview process from an employee or a potential employee.”  The Act is in response to municipalities passing ordinances that prohibit employers from seeking salary information from applicants. 

Supporters of the legislation contend that it provides a consistent policy regarding the information employers can request during the application and interview process and eliminates the need for employers to comply with multiple and often conflicting local ordinances.  Opponents of the Act contend that it hinders recent efforts to achieve pay equity, which would force employers to base compensation decisions on a candidate’s experience and skill set instead of relying on possible past discriminatory salary practices.

In addition, the Act restricts a local government’s ability to implement “Ban the Box” ordinances that prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal conviction history.

The law, which goes into effect on June 24, 2018, does not prohibit a local government from enacting an ordinance, policy, or resolution that requires an employee or potential employee to undergo a criminal background check when applying for a license or permit from the local governmental body.  Other jurisdictions, such as Wisconsin, are considering or have passed similar legislation to eliminate the burden placed on employers when they are required to comply with ordinances, policies, and resolutions governing the application and interview process that often vary from one municipality to another.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.