Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Wednesday that moves many employment-related administrative hearings online in an effort to avert person-to-person contact that helps spread coronavirus.
This is the governor’s 16th active order dealing with the COVID-19 health threat. It allows hearings that were conducted in person to now be done via phone or videoconferencing. It also allows notices to be sent by e-mail or some other electronic means.
“Michigan’s workforce is making unprecedented sacrifices as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a written statement. “Through video conferencing and other electronic means, this order will allow us to continue addressing disputes in the workplace and ensure we are meeting the needs of those filing for unemployment benefits during this challenging time.”
Whitmer said in a statement emailed by her office that these temporary measures will help resolve workplace disputes and denials of unemployment claims while the state grapples with the new coronavirus challenge.
There’s been a surge in laid-off workers applying for unemployment benefits due to businesses that have been shut-down due to the new coronavirus. This latest executive order expires at midnight on April 13th.
Business groups say they have no problem with the order issued by the Democratic governor as long as it’s fair to employers as well as employees – and that it’s temporary.
“Protecting public health must be our top priority at this time,” said Richard Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “If this temporary change in employment-related administrative hearings can be made without impairing the rights of employees and employers, it seems prudent.”
The emergency order is supposed to expire on April 13th.