LANSING, Mich., Feb. 24, 2022 — Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) introduced House Bill 5831 today as part of a larger package of Democratic-sponsored bills to protect workers’ rights. Rabhi’s bill, originally drafted by the late state Rep. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit), would empower workers by ending “at-will” employment. Employers would have to show a business-related “just cause” to fire workers past their probationary period.
“Most people’s livelihoods currently depend on the whims of employers and managers. It’s a system set up to enable abuse and provide cover for discrimination,” Rabhi said. “In these difficult and uncertain times, everyone deserves security and fair treatment in the workplace. This bill would put real power in the hands of every worker in the state.”
HB 5831 would protect workers from being fired for arbitrary or capricious reasons. Under the current “at-will” system, employers can fire any employee for any reason, with a few exceptions such as those provided by nondiscrimination laws and collective bargaining agreements. HB 5381 would allow wrongfully discharged employees to recover compensation for lost wages and benefits by filing a complaint with LARA’s Wage and Hour Division or by bringing suit.
“This bill has a special significance because it was conceived by Rep. Robinson, a valued colleague who died at the beginning of the pandemic,” Rabhi said. “He was a great advocate for working people, and it would be a fitting honor to his memory to pass this bill to improve the lives of millions of Michiganders.”