First Responders Employment Law Dedicated to Success

Rochester Hills First Responders' Employment Attorneys

Professional Legal Advocates Supporting You in Michigan

Workers’ compensation benefits can be complex to dissect, depending on the nature of your employment and reason for a claim. Our attorneys at Little & Boylan PLLC have the breadth of knowledge and experience to represent Michigan first responders who seek workers’ benefits specific to their work as first responders. We have the professional experience specific to first responder employment law to litigate your workers’ compensation case as a first responder in Michigan.

First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund

Michigan has a First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund administered by the Director of the Workers' Disability Compensation Agency. An interested individual must apply to qualify for the fund, and in order to submit an application the first responder must be:

  • a member of a fully paid fire department or public fire authority and be compensated on a full-time basis;
  • in active service of the department or authority for at least 60 months;
  • diagnosed with any respiratory tract, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, thyroid, testicular, prostate, or lymphatic cancer; and
  • employed in the active service of the department or authority at the time the cancer manifests itself and be exposed to the hazards incidental to fire suppression, rescue, or emergency medical services in the performance of their work-related duties.

Note that the application for benefits from the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund suspends the employee’s workers' compensation claim against the applicant’s employer.

If there is scientific evidence that the applicant was a substantial and consistent user of cigarettes or other tobacco products within the 10 years immediately preceding the date of injury and that this use was a significant factor in the cause, aggravation, or progression of the cancer, it might not as easy to qualify for the above compensation.

Interested individuals must submit their application via U.S. Mail attention to the following address:

Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency

First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund

P. O. Box 30016

Lansing, MI 48909

COVID-19 Circumstances

Normally, workers’ compensation in Michigan covers only illnesses caused by conditions peculiar to the employer’s business. That is, in normal circumstances an individual who contracts “ordinary diseases” the general public is exposed to outside of work like the flu cannot be a cause for workers’ compensation. However, in the case of COVID-19, certain individuals may be eligible for workers’ compensation depending on the nature of their job in the pandemic.

Michigan has made it easier for certain healthcare workers and first responders to qualify for benefits if they contract COVID-19. Under emergency rules signed by Governor Whitmer in October 2020, if a person is considered a COVID-19 first response employee and they test positive or are diagnosed with COVID-19 on or after March 18, 2020, Michigan will presume that they have a work-related injury unless the employer proves otherwise. Employees covered under the COVID-19 exception include:

  • doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses, and respiratory therapists;
  • other workers in hospitals, medical care facilities, hospices, and nursing homes;
  • home healthcare workers;
  • firefighters, police, and correctional officers; and
  • EMTs and other ambulance workers.

These emergency rules are effective until March 20, 2021.

What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Employers in every state, including Michigan, are subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave with the right to reinstatement. Michigan employers must comply with the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.

Employees may take FMLA leave in the following circumstances:

  • they have worked for the company for at least 1 year;
  • they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year; and
  • they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

FMLA leave is available if an employee needs time off to:

  • recuperate from a serious health condition;
  • care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • bond with a new child;
  • handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s military service; or
  • care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military.

Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period to recuperate from a serious health condition or bond with a new child. Note that this leave renews every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements set out in the act. Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a family member who was injured on active military duty. However, this leave is a per-injury, per-service member entitlement. That is, unless the same family member is injured again or another family member suffers an injury while on active duty, an employee may not take an additional leave for this purpose.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Michigan cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices and complies with all regulations set forth by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA does not require Michigan to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services or impose an undue financial or administrative burden. That being said, though, the state will generally, upon request, provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in Michigan's programs, services, and activities, including:

  • qualified sign language interpreters;
  • documents in Braille; and
  • other ways of making information and communications accessible to people who have speech, hearing, and/or vision disabilities.

ADA-related requests should go to the appropriate Michigan department or agency's ADA coordinator so effective communication can be achieved. Note that anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a program, service, or activity of the state, should contact the state’s ADA coordinator no later than 48 hours before the scheduled event.

Put an Employment Lawyer on Your Side!

Depending on your situation and employer, you may qualify for certain employment compensation benefits as a first responder. If you have legal concerns or questions about your eligibility, speak with one of our employment attorneys at Little & Boylan PLLC immediately. We can take a look at your situation and help you determine your workers’ benefits in certain situations.

For more information, schedule a free consultation today by calling (248) 809-1402 or submitting an online form here.

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