- Government Relations
Labor and Employment
- Employment Litigation
Employment Relations, Policies, and Regulatory Practice
- Covenants Not to Compete and Trade Secrets
- Drug and Alcohol Policies and Testing
- Employee Discipline and Termination
- Employment Counseling
- Employment Policies and Manuals
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Management Training
- Wage and Hour/Fair Labor Standards Act
- Whistleblower Protection
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("WARN")
- Workplace Harassment, Including Sexual Harassment
- Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., 1993, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
Case Western Review Law Review, Associate and Executive Notes Editor, 1991-1993
- Ohio Wesleyan University, B.A., 1990, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, University Honors
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
Mike is of counsel in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment and government relations practice groups. He has significant experience in wage and hour law, employee noncompetition, employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), and legislative affairs. In his practice he advises a variety of Ohio and national employers on policy development, personnel matters and litigation avoidance and represents them before government agencies and the courts and through alternative dispute resolution.
His notable experience includes:
- Principle architect of Ohio’s new minimum wage law (H.B. 690)
- Conducting sexual harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity and general human resources training
- Defending and advising employers regarding state and federal wage-hour laws, class actions, and collective actions
- Drafting, advising employers regarding, and litigating non-competition agreements
Mike has given presentations on Ohio’s new minimum wage law to Honda of America suppliers and to the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. He has also presented testimony before the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate.
Mike received his J.D. magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University School of Law where he was the executive notes editor of the Case Western Law Review and was the recipient of the Theodore Sindell Prize for the Best Essay in Tort Law and the American Jurisprudence Award for research and writing. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan where he was Phi Beta Kappa.
Professional and Community Activities
- Ohio Humanities Council, Board of Trustees, 2004-2011; Chair, 2007-2011
- Actors’ Theatre Company, Board of Directors, First Vice President and Secretary, 2002-2005
- Friends of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Board of Trustees, 1998-2004
- Community 21 (Columbus Community Cable Access, Inc.), Board of Trustees, First Vice President, 1997-2002
Honors & Awards
- American Jurisprudence Award in Research and Writing
- Theodore Sindell Award for Best Essay in Tort Law
- 10/9/2015On October 6, 2015, the District of Columbia Council introduced the “Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015,” which would require up to 16 weeks of paid family leave and 16 weeks of paid medical leave per year. Although just introduced, the legislation currently has the support of a majority of the D.C. Council. If enacted, it will affect the budget and operations of D.C. employers.
- 10/8/2015Beginning January 1, 2016, California may have the most stringent equal pay law in the country. California’s new Fair Pay Act makes it easier for plaintiffs to assert gender-based wage claims and more difficult for employers to defend against them.
- 10/7/2015Labor and Employment Alert: A Small But Meaningful Change to California’s Private Attorneys General Act for EmployersOn October 2, 2015, California enacted AB 1506 to amend its Private Attorneys General Act (commonly referred to as PAGA) to address the increase in class action litigation over minor, technical violations of itemized wage statements.
- 9/30/2015Labor and Employment Alert: The OFCCP Launches ‘Class Member Locator’ Website to Troll for PlaintiffsThis week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) commenced its “Class Member Locator” website in support of the president’s Transparency and Open Government Initiative. The website’s purpose is to identify and “locate as many class members as possible” who may have been victims of discrimination with a federal contractor.
- 9/24/2015The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released its most recent in a string of pro-union decisions in the form of a new guidance memorandum from its General Counsel (GC). In the “quickie” or “ambush” election rulemaking, the NLRB had directed the GC to issue guidance on whether electronic signatures should be accepted for the showing of interest required of a union.
- 9/11/2015On September 11, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published its Final Rule on pay transparency in federal contracts. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), this rule “provides a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and can seek appropriate remedies.”
- 9/10/2015On Labor Day, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. This is similar to what several states and cities have mandated for private employers (including Oregon; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). The Executive Order’s requirements apply to all covered federal contracts that are solicited or awarded on and after January 1, 2017.
- 8/26/2015Mike Griffaton, of counsel in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, authored an article for Recruiting Trends Bulletin titled “Screening Candidates Through Social Media.”
- 8/25/2015In November 2015, Ohio voters will determine whether to ensconce the use of recreational and medical marijuana in the Ohio Constitution.
- 8/24/2015Oil and Gas Alert: Service Company Learns Some Expensive Lessons About Wage-Hour Law in $6 Million SettlementRecently, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted preliminary approval to a $6 million class and collective action settlement between Calfrac Well Services Corp. and a class of about 1,300 fracturing, cement, and coil operators. The plaintiffs worked as field operators in Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Dakota, and Arkansas and were paid according to a complicated formula that included a salary, bonuses, and overtime. The case centered on how the operators’ regular rate of pay (the rate which provides the basis for the time-and-a-half overtime premium) should be calculated.
- 8/11/2015Following Oregon’s recently enacted state-wide paid sick leave law, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are the latest locales to require that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees. This further complicates the growing patchwork quilt of federal, state and local leave laws that employers have to contend with.
- 7/30/2015Democrats in Congress recently introduced the Schedules that Work Act to control how employers schedule their employees’ to work. The bill would apply to employers of 15 or more employees.
- 7/29/2015Oregon is now the fourth state, after Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts, to mandate that employers provide their employees with sick leave benefits. Oregon’s new sick leave law goes into effect on January 1, 2016, applies to all private- and public-sector employees, and in most cases, requires that the sick leave be paid.
- 7/20/2015A recent opinion from the federal district court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania determined that drivers who transported water to drilling rigs were not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or Pennsylvania law.
- 7/15/2015Labor and Employment Alert: DOL Declares That Most Workers are Employees, Not Independent ContractorsToday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation discussing the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. In this guidance, the DOL takes the position that “most workers are employees under the FLSA’s broad definitions.”
- 6/30/2015Labor and Employment Alert: Department of Labor Proposes to Increase the Salary Threshold to Reduce the Number of Workers Qualifying for Overtime ExemptionsToday, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule that would significantly expand the overtime protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule would increase the salary an employee must receive before being considered overtime-exempt to $970 per week – $50,440 per year (or, $122,148 for highly compensated employees) in 2016.
- 6/23/2015Ohio Statehouse Update: House-Senate Conference Committee Working to Finalize Biennial Budget Bill This WeekAs the deadline for passage of Ohio’s budget bill looms, a House-Senate Conference Committee worked over the weekend and is expected to meet to report a compromise version of House Bill 64, the state’s two-year main operating budget bill, by mid-week.
- 6/19/2015On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously held that employers may still terminate employees who use medical marijuana – even though medical marijuana use is specifically authorized by the Colorado Constitution and Colorado law protects employees’ lawful off-duty conduct.
- 6/15/2015Labor and Employment Alert: The Law of Unintended Consequences: Legislation Protecting Off-Duty Conduct Introduced in Ohio SenateLegislation was recently introduced in the Ohio Senate by Senator Joe Uecker to protect employees who engage in certain off-duty conduct from adverse job actions. At least 29 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws that protect employees to some extent from adverse action based on their off-duty activities.
- 6/10/2015More employers are using or considering payroll debit cards instead of paper checks or direct deposit to pay their employees. For employers, these cards may be less expensive than physical checks; for employees, these cards allow them to withdraw funds and make payments much like traditional debit cards.
- 6/4/2015Labor and Employment Alert: Sixth Circuit Holds That Plaintiff’s Own Testimony is Good Enough to Defeat Summary Judgment Under the FLSAThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to keep records of nonexempt employees’ hours worked each day, total hours worked each workweek, regular hourly rate, and straight and overtime wages. There is no required form for these records, but the records must include accurate information about the hours worked and the wages earned. A recent case from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reinforces the importance of good record keeping when it comes to tracking employees’ work time. In Moran v. Al Basit, the Sixth Circuit answered “one simple question: Where Plaintiff has presented no other evidence, is Plaintiff's testimony sufficient to defeat Defendant's motion for summary judgment? We hold that it is.”
- 5/15/2015Labor and Employment Alert: Bad Facts Make Bad Law: The Fourth Circuit Lowers the Bar for Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation ClaimsThe Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina) recently held that calling an African-American employee a “porch monkey” twice within 24 hours was so severe that it created a hostile work environment. The Court also found that the employee’s complaints about the comments were protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII.
- 5/1/2015On April 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that courts may review the EEOC’s conciliation efforts that are a prerequisite to the EEOC’s filing suit against an employer under Title VII. The Court recognized that the EEOC has “expansive” and “abundant” discretion in how to conduct conciliation efforts and when to end them. Consequently, while courts may evaluate whether the EEOC has attempted conciliation, the scope of that judicial review is limited and “relatively barebones.”
- 4/15/2015Labor and Employment Alert: It’s Common Sense: Sixth Circuit Holds That (Generally) Regular, Predictable Attendance is an Essential Function of the JobLast year, the Sixth Circuit opened the floodgates on telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In EEOC v. Ford Motor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Ford under the ADA for failing to accommodate Jane Harris’ (a former employee) irritable bowel syndrome by refusing her request to telecommute as-needed up to four days a week.
- 4/9/2015Labor and Employment Alert: The 9th Circuit Makes it Even Harder to Restrict Former Employees’ EmploymentCalifornia courts have made it notoriously difficult to enforce noncompete agreements against former employees in California. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just made it even harder.
- 4/8/2015The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the results of a 2014 enforcement initiative that focused on the oil and gas industry in New Mexico and west Texas. According to the DOL, it recovered more than $1.3 million owed to some 1,300 employees as a result of this investigation. This is not the first DOL foray into wage-and-hour practices within the oil and gas industry. In December 2014, the DOL announced that employers engaged in natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania and West Virginia agreed to pay $4,498,547 in back wages to 5,310 employees.
- 4/2/2015The National Labor Relations Board has determined that confidentiality statements used in internal investigations are unlawful. Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has weighed in on employee confidentiality agreements.
- 3/30/2015Underscoring a national trend, Virginia joined 18 states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin) limiting employer access to the social media accounts of job applicants and employees.
- 3/27/2015On March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited decision in Young v. United Parcel Service regarding the scope of required accommodations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The case involves a former driver for UPS who claimed that UPS violated the PDA by not offering her light duty when she was pregnant and subject to a 20-pound lifting restriction, despite accommodating nonpregnant drivers with the same lifting restriction.
- 3/25/2015Labor and Employment Alert: The NLRB’s Employee Handbook Policy Guidance — It’s Not Just For Union WorkplacesOn March 18, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) general counsel released a report addressing “problematic” employee handbook provisions that could be “reasonably construed” as having a chilling effect on employees’ Section 7 activity under the National Labor Relations Act (basically, the right to engage in “concerted activities” for collective bargaining or “other mutual aid and protection”).
- 3/13/2015Client Alert: Upholding a DOL Rule that Mortgage Loan Originators do not Qualify for the Administrative Exemption, a Unanimous Supreme Court Defers to Federal Agencies When Amending and Repealing Interpretative RulesIn Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the Supreme Court unanimously held that federal agencies do not have to engage in formal notice-and-comment rulemaking when changing their interpretative rules (even when, as in the case before the Court, those changes are significant).
- 3/12/2015Labor and Employment Alert: Unanimous Supreme Court Defers to Federal Agencies When Amending and Repealing Interpretative Rules (For Now)In Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the Supreme Court unanimously held that federal agencies do not have to engage in formal notice-and-comment rulemaking when changing their interpretative rules (even when, as in the case before the Court, those changes are significant).
- 3/9/2015With Governor Scott Walker’s signature today, Wisconsin has become the latest state to enact a right-to-work law. Indiana and Michigan last did so in 2012. Wisconsin brings the total number of right-to-work states to 25.
- 3/4/2015Labor and Employment Alert: Is There No Rest From Wage-Hour Class Actions For Weary Employers in California?Any employer who has done business in California is familiar with the state’s byzantine wage-hours laws and the immense liability for even minor violations. The complexity of these laws – and the potential exposure facing employers – has not been lost on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as the recent case of Mendoza v. Nordstrom demonstrates.
- 3/3/2015Several employment laws recently became effective in Washington, D.C. that impose new requirements on employers operating within the District on wage transparency, marijuana testing, pregnancy accommodations and concealed weapons. Employers should review their current operations and policies to ensure they comply with the new laws’ requirements.
- 2/26/2015Labor and Employment Alert: Department of Labor Finalizes Rule on Same-Sex Spouses for FMLA CoverageThe federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family, medical, and military family reasons. On February 25, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Final Rule that revises the FMLA’s regulatory definition of “spouse.”
- 2/25/2015As the 131st Ohio General Assembly continues to get underway, Senate Democrats recently introduced three bills regulating employers’ use of consumer credit reports, criminal histories and social media accounts.
- 2/20/2015Labor and Employment Alert: New Jersey Supreme Court Simultaneously Limits and Expands an Employer’s Liability for Sexual HarassmentUnder the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), an employer can be liable for hostile work environment harassment in two ways. First, an employee can assert a cause of action directly against the employer for negligently or recklessly causing the hostile environment. Second, the employer can be vicariously liable for the acts of its supervisors. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Aguas v. State, 2015 N.J. LEXIS 131 (2015), significantly impacts the state’s employers when it comes to defending against that second theory of sexual harassment and reinforces the importance of effective anti-harassment procedures.
- 2/4/2015Labor and Employment Alert: A New Ohio General Assembly = Potential Challenges Ahead for Ohio EmployersGroucho Marx once said that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” So as we welcome the 131st Ohio General Assembly, we already have the introduction of pro-employee wage-and-hour legislation. On February 2, 2015, Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) introduced Senate Bill 25 which would make significant changes to Ohio’s employment laws.
- 1/15/2015Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and House Minority Leader Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) announced House committee leadership positions this week for the new two-year session.
- 12/23/2014Ohio Statehouse Update: Ohio General Assembly Concludes Work – Passes Flurry of Legislation in Lame DuckMembers of the 130th Ohio General Assembly officially finished their business and headed home after the conclusion of a lengthy Ohio House floor session December 17. The hectic final days were notable both for the legislation that passed as well as for some high profile bills that did not pass.
- 12/17/2014Both the West Coast (led by San Francisco) and the East Coast (led by Philadelphia) recently illustrated growing pro-employee trends in defining employee work schedules and in ensuring paid sick leave for employees.
- 12/9/2014Labor and Employment Alert: The Wait is Over: U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Holds That Waiting in Line for Security Checks is Not CompensableAs we reported in October, the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, U.S. No. 13-433, has been closely watched by companies that screen their workers to prevent employee theft. Integrity Staffing required its employees to pass through a security check at the end of each shift and did not compensate them for the 25 minutes the employees claimed the process took.
- 12/8/2014Labor and Employment Alert: It’s Final: The Department of Labor’s Final Rule on LGBT Protections in Federal ContractsEighteen states and the District of Columbia currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees (LGBT). In July 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13672, which extended this protection by prohibiting discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracts.
- 11/5/2014This alert details results of the 2014 general election.
- 10/15/2014Labor and Employment Alert: Under the Microscope: The EEOC Takes a Close Look at Severance AgreementsOne of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) enforcement priorities is to target policies that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes or that impede the EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts. Recently, the EEOC has targeted settlement provisions that appear to prohibit filing EEOC charges or that appear to restrict the ability of an employee to provide the EEOC with information to assist in investigating and prosecuting discrimination claims.
- 9/19/2014The latest edition of the Ohio Statehouse Update covers two high profile pieces of legislation that were passed this spring, as well as ongoing legislative committee hearings and meetings regarding pending bills and policy issues.
- 5/28/2014Legislators returned to Columbus this week after the Memorial Day weekend for what is likely their last two weeks of work before they break for the summer. Several high profile bills are scheduled for action before the summer break. They include SB 310, a controversial measure to put a two-year freeze on renewable and alternative energy standards, and HB 483, one of the Mid Biennial Budget Review (MBR) bills introduced by Governor John Kasich earlier this year.
- 3/25/2014The state’s two-year Capital Appropriations measure, House Bill 497, was introduced in the Ohio House on March 18. This year’s Capital Bill allocates $2.39 billion, largely bond-backed funding for brick-and-mortar construction and renovation projects for state agencies, colleges, universities and school districts. Also, for the first time in six years, the Capital Bill goes beyond funding construction and renovation needs for state-owned properties, providing approximately $160 million in funding for additional “community projects” identified as priorities across various regions of the state.
- 2/25/2014Ohio Statehouse Update: Governor Kasich Announces New Initiatives at Ohio State of the State AddressGovernor John R. Kasich announced new policy initiatives relating to education, workforce development and tax reform at his Monday night State of the State address in Medina. His proposals will be presented to the legislature as part of the Mid-Biennial Budget Review (MBR). The timetable for introduction of the MBR remains uncertain.
- 9/27/2013Just like the students who head back to school in August and the birds that start their journey south for the winter, legislators began their migration to Columbus in September. And your U. S. senators and congressmen are back at work in Washington.
- 7/1/2013On Sunday evening, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 59, the state's two-year, $62 billion budget into law, just in time for the beginning of the new state fiscal year on July 1, 2013.
- 6/26/2013Ohio Statehouse Update: House-Senate Conference Committee Reports Compromise Version of State Budget BillLast night on a 4-2 party line vote the Conference Committee on House Bill 59, led by the chairmen of the House and Senate Finance Committees, Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) and Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), reported a compromise version of the state’s biennial budget bill that will now head to the House and Senate floor for a final vote to accept the changes.
- 5/29/2013Yesterday afternoon the Senate Finance Committee unveiled a substitute version of House Bill 59, the state biennial budget bill. The substitute legislation incorporates many changes, significant among which is the replacement of an across-the-board 7% income tax cut proposed in the House-passed version of the bill with a tax cut package specifically targeted at helping small businesses in Ohio.
- 4/10/2013The Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee accepted a substitute version of House Bill 59, the state’s biennial budget bill, at a hearing yesterday afternoon. Among numerous significant changes in the bill, the substitute legislation removes Governor Kasich’s proposed tax reforms and replaces them with an across the board 7% income tax reduction, and removes the proposed expansion of Medicaid that was projected to leverage $2.4 billion in federal funds to provide coverage for uninsured Ohioans over the next two years.
- 12/19/2012On Thursday, the Ohio General Assembly concluded its business for the 2011-2012 legislative session. The House and Senate debated a number of important measures during the fast-paced "Lame Duck"session following the November general election.
- 11/7/2012This alert details results of the 2012 primary election.
- 10/25/2012With the elections right around the corner, Vorys is providing you with unique insights from both sides of the aisle on the upcoming races.
- 10/3/2012With the November 6 General Election only five weeks away, the political campaign season is kicking into high gear. Here is a preview of the major candidate races and issues that will be on the ballot in Ohio.
- 10/1/2012The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission held its first meeting on September 13, 2012. The Commission was created through the passage of House Bill 188 earlier this year, and is tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of the Ohio Constitution, and making recommendations to the General Assembly regarding changes to the Constitution, including recommendations for changes to the process for proposing constitutional amendments.
- 2/29/2012Every 10 years, following the census, the Ohio Apportionment Board is tasked with redrawing Ohio’s House and Senate districts to reflect changes in population. The Ohio legislative districts must include 99 House Districts and 33 Senate Districts.
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