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Mar 2020
26
March 26, 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe: How to Protect Your Employees and Your Business When Law Enforcement is Knocking on Your Door

Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21) directs all Michigan businesses and entities to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. In recent days, state and local law enforcement officials have begun to enforce the order against both individuals and businesses, by showing up at businesses and asking questions and by stopping employees and others in transit and inquiring about the purpose or legitimacy of the person’s travel. Below is a list of best practices to keep in mind if you encounter law enforcement officials.

Business
Designate one employee (“Designated Employee”) at the business to respond to any law enforcement inquiry. The Designated Employee should be available 24/7 in person and/or over the phone.

If law enforcement appears at the place of business or calls, inform the Designated Employee immediately. Wait to speak with law enforcement until the Designated Employee arrives or is reached by phone.

The Designated Employee should ask for the officer’s name, badge number and contact information.

The Designated Employee should not answer any questions. Rather, the Designated Employee should give the officer the name and contact information for the business’s attorney and indicate that the attorney can provide whatever information the officer needs.

Note: Speaking with a law enforcement officer during the course of an investigation may leave the employee criminally liable for knowingly providing false information to a law enforcement officer if the officer or prosecutor later believes the information provided was false or incomplete.

If the officer issues a citation (ticket) or indicates they will be referring the matter to the Attorney General’s Office or a local prosecutor for further action, please call your attorney immediately.

Individual (Employee)
Law enforcement officers have begun to pull over individuals and ask that person to demonstrate a legitimate purpose for being out and about.

Best practice is to issue letters to employees who are performing minimum basic operations or employees who are critical infrastructure workers indicating their designation.

Contact Warner to discuss drafting a letter for your business.

If you decide not to issue letters to your employees, provide employees with the name and contact information for the Designated Employee whose name and number can be provided to law enforcement officers to verify that the individual pulled over is a critical employee.

If an employee received a citation or is told they will be ticketed or charged, please contact your attorney as soon as possible to discuss next steps.

If you have any questions, please contact Warner attorneys Brian Lennon, Madelaine Lane or Karen VanderWerff.

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