It’s that time of year again when I dust off my crystal ball to see what will happen in the New Year.  When I first checked, things seemed a little cloudy, but then I realized that my crystal ball appeared more like a snow globe.  Once I adjusted it from “weather” to “future,” things were in much better focus.  Here’s what I saw for 2014:

The Economy:  The majority of what I’ve read says that the economy will continue to grow and will do so a bit faster than it did last year.  It won’t be huge, but it will be consistent and strong.  Also, due to some pent-up demand, Michigan’s heavy dependence on the automotive industry will serve us well for the near future.

Michigan Employment Law:  There’s a proposal (The Employment Application Fairness Act) being tossed around that is designed to ban employers from asking about felony convictions during the hiring process.  With our current legislature, I’m betting that this one won’t go anywhere soon.

Michigan Court Decisions:  What I think will cause some change is a hearing scheduled for February 25th, 2014 in the case of DeBoer v. Snyder.  I’ve written about this case in the past and believe that there is a good chance that the court will use the 2013 Supreme Court DOMA ruling as a basis to declare Michigan’s ban on same sex marriages unconstitutional.

Federal Laws:  There has been a slight increase in bipartisan support (think budget agreement), but I don’t think that it will translate into any new employment laws coming from this group, especially since they will be pre-occupied with preparing for the midterm elections.

National Labor Relations Board:  The biggest opportunity for changes to employment practices will come from the NLRB.  After a drawn-out debate about the validity of recess appointments in 2012 and 2013, the NLRB now has a full quorum on the board.  With three pro-union and two pro-management members, we are likely to see some old issues revisited and have potential for some interesting new developments as well.

Affordable Care Act:  In spite of the 46 times that Republicans have voted to repeal the ACA and the embarrassing launch of the website, this legislation is here to stay.  This is a universally misunderstood and controversial law and 2014 will be when we will really see how it will work.  Expect it to be in the news a lot again this year.

Finally, my highly accurate crystal ball/snow globe, predicts a highly successful year for our customers, partners, and friends in 2014.  Best wishes for a productive and prosperous New Year.

Stay warm my friends!

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