HR & Compliance

Add SBAM offers a full spectrum of human resources services to keep you compliant and help your business run more efficiently and profitably....

Human Resources Solutions

ASE LogoLooking for help with tough HR issues? 

SBAM partner ASE has the answers about hiring, firing, FMLA, ADA and more! Get access to a FREE HR hotline, affordable and cost-effective research consultation services, discounted employee handbooks and workplace posters, and more.

Section 125 Plan, FSA, HSA & HRA Administration


KUSHNER & COMPANY LogoLooking for ways to contain health care costs?
With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise, most employers require their employees to contribute to the cost of health insurance premiums. SBAM partner Kushner & Co. can help you put a tax-favored, consumer-directed plan in place that benefits you and your employees.


COBRA Administration

Personalized, affordable administration for your business. 

If you have 20 or more employees, your company is required by federal law to offer continued health insurance coverage via COBRA and will face huge fines if it's not administered correctly.  Let SBAM help you stay compliant for only $30 per month. 

Listen today to learn how you can engage with the new Small Business Jobs Insight project. 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar.

(Photo: Traverse City small business owner Lisa Wehr of Oneupweb tells reporters how her firm is filling jobs.) 

Coverage of the Traverse City launch event for Small Business Jobs Insight project: interviews with Doug Luciani, president of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce; Rob Fowler, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan; Lisa Wehr, owner of Oneupweb; Dave Moore, owner of Village Press; and Laura Oblinger, chief operating officer for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Also, an interview with Donna Napolitano, owner of Mechanical Energy Systems, about their April 14 southeast Michigan Earth Day Open House.

Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.      

Can an Employer Force Co-Workers Who Get Married to Resign?

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AdvanceHR

On TV shows like "The Office," employers monitor the dating habits of employees. In real life, employers may impose fraternization rules if they have legitimate business reasons for doing so or they want to thwart sexual harassment allegations. For instance, a company might ban romances between managers and subordinates or flat-out prohibit all workers from dating each other.

The Company's Written Policy

Court documents show that Fred's Inc. had the following written non-fraternization policy. Dollie Ayers-Jennings signed a document acknowledging that she read and understood it:

"Single management employees are not to date anyone they may directly or indirectly supervise.  Because of the possible distractions at work, single employees are discouraged, but not prohibited, from dating other single Fred's, Inc. employees.  Close relatives, from immediate family through first cousins, are not to be assigned to the same department, nor are management employees to supervise close relatives. Exceptions may be approved by the President."

But suppose that two co-workers become romantically involved anyway and eventually get married. If the marriage violates company policy, can the employer require at least one of the spouses to resign? That was the issue presented in a recent case decided by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Facts of the case: Dollie Ayers worked for Fred's, Inc., a discount retailer, for approximately 28 years. In 2006, she began dating Willie Jennings, an area manager in the Memphis, Tenn., warehouse where she worked. Jennings wasn't her direct supervisor, but there were times when she might be subject to his supervision.

Ayers and Jennings were married in 2007. When they returned to work from their honeymoon, they were informed that one of them would have to resign because company policy prohibited any employee from working either directly or indirectly under his or her spouse. Because her compensation was significantly less than her husband's, Dollie Ayers-Jennings reluctantly resigned from her job.

According to court documents, prior to their wedding, "both Jennings and Ayers mentioned their wedding plans to their supervisors, none of whom cautioned them about the impact of their marriage on their employment status."

Then, Ayers-Jennings initiated a lawsuit against Fred's, alleging that the termination of her employment was racially motivated. An African-American, Ayers-Jennings argued that three other co-worker couples were allowed to remain employed at the company after getting married. All of the other parties were Caucasian. But the attorneys for Fred's argued that the other couples were not in comparable situations. In no case did any of the employees work in the same division as their spouse. Nor did one spouse supervise, or be in position to potentially supervise, his or her spouse.

The district court sided with the employer. It determined that there was no racial discrimination, and Ayers-Jennings "failed to show that nonprotected, similarly situated employees were treated more favorably than she was." The company's written policy (see right-hand box) was specific and there were no open jobs that either spouse could transfer to.

The Court was sympathetic to Ayers-Jennings stating that "no reasonable person would disagree that plaintiff deserved better." As a "good, loyal employee of some 28 years, she "was given 24 hours to decide whether she or her husband would resign -- not because of "misconduct" of any kind -- but because of a blessed event: their matrimonial union." However, the court added that while it "failed to understand such inflexible adherence to company policy, the civil rights laws do not g

Small business owners sharing their stories of jobs filled across Michigan

The Michigan’s Small Business Jobs Insight project (, designed to tally and report the growing number of small business jobs being filled in regions and industries across Michigan, launched today at a kickoff event at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Job growth in Michigan is overwhelmingly centered in the small business sector and we believe it’s important to document this growth and report the impact these jobs are having on our state’s economic comeback,” says Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). “We are very pleased that the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Jobs Insight and has partnered with SBAM to help support entrepreneurs in northwest Michigan.” 

The key elements of include:

• a ticker that displays jobs reported by growing small businesses in the current month;
• a pie chart that shows the percentage per Michigan region of the total jobs reported per month;
• total jobs reported for the year to-date;
• the top ten industries for small business growth; and
• links to individual stories of regional small business job growth.

“Michigan has put tremendous public policy tools in place, from business tax reform to improvements in the regulatory climate to a new emphasis on economic gardening, that help lay a foundation of entrepreneurial business and employment growth,” Fowler says. “We know that small business owners are taking advantage of the improved business climate fostered by these public policy changes to fill job openings and accelerate job creation. reports where these jobs are and how they are benefitting everyone in our state.” is not a scientific count of every job filled in the small business community.

“We are reporting the jobs filled by our members and, if anything, these totals under-report the full, dramatic growth of small business jobs across the state,” Fowler says. “To enhance our reporting, we encourage individual small businesses to contact us with their stories of job creation.”

In addition to the website, MichiganJobsInsight can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

"This is the year of Jobs, Jobs and Jobs for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce; creation, retention and growth are vital to this area. It was through our work on a Job-o-Meter that the Chamber and SBAM realized there was potential to collaborate and partner for We are thrilled with the result and look forward to watching our region grow, now in a tangible and visual capacity,” Douglas Luciani, President and CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the Small Business Association of Michigan and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, MichiganJobsInsight is a collaborative statewide effort between Issue Media Group and other partners to capture small business job growth through editorial coverage with focus on growth and innovation.

Structured compensation programs in your small business: today at 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar

Michael Rogers talks with HR consultant Cynthia Pepper about implementing an efficient structured compensation program in your small business. Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.