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Detroit Employment Law Blog

Michigan equality groups seek protections against discrimination

Equality Michigan, an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer) rights group is seeking help from the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. This group, and others like it, wants the commission to expand the ban on sex discrimination to protect gender identity and sexual orientation.

In response, the Commission asked the public to weigh in on the issue by submitting feedback through Tuesday, Aug. 14. Specifically, Equality Michigan wants the commission to release an interpretation of the current laws on sex discrimination. A spokesperson with the group contends that an interpretive statement could address the law's current ambiguity and might prove just as effective as an outright amendment.

Can I be a securities whistleblower and stay anonymous?

In the interests of not giving readers misleading information, the best answer to this question is maybe. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) attempts to protect a whistleblower's anonymity, but in some cases, it is not always possible to do so. Taking it a step at a time, here is what you should know about being an anonymous whistleblower against fraudulent securities and trading activity.

First, you can always submit your information to the SEC anonymously. However, you are required to have an attorney represent you in this endeavor. You are also required to give your attorney a completed Form TCR, which is a form outlining your whistleblower complaint or tip. While this form does require your personal information, the SEC will treat this information as anonymously as possible.

First steps to take if you are being discriminated against

Thousands of workplace discrimination cases occur each year. Fortunately, discrimination is against the law and there are steps you can take to hold your employer accountable and ensure that your rights are protected.

It's not easy to report discrimination, but it's likely that nothing will change if you don't take action. If you feel you are being discriminated against in the workplace, take these steps.

Employment contracts: Be careful signing a severance agreement

Losing a job is a disagreeable experience for anyone, to put it mildly. Even executive level employees find the experience unsettling and even painful. Many emotions rise to the surface during this time, and these feelings can have a harmful effect on your final severance package.

Before going further, we want to encourage all C-Level executives in the Detroit region to seek legal advice before signing any employment contract, including a severance agreement. This is the best way to ensure that your rights and your needs remain at the forefront of any employment negotiation.

Each workplace discrimination case helps advance equal rights

People who have been victimized by workplace discrimination based on race feel a very wide range of negative emotions. They often experience hurt, shock, betrayal, anger and even shame. These emotions can discourage victims from taking legal action against the company that made them a victim in the first place.

When race-based workplace discrimination occurs, most victims just want it to go away. A typical response may be to seek employment elsewhere or to pretend it is not happening. It is not difficult to understand why people react in this way, but a better and more productive response is to seek a solution so that discrimination does not happen to others.

Ongoing Michigan whistleblower suit takes a turn into high drama

It is true that any kind of potential litigation can bring dramatic behaviors to the forefront. A whistleblower lawsuit is one such example. Those named in a whistleblower suit often feel panicked about their alleged involvement. This could quickly turn into paranoia and other negative emotions.

Whether it is paranoia or simple truth, a Macomb County prosecutor involved in a whistleblower suit claimed under oath that he is "in fear for his life" from the whistleblower. The prosecutor claims that a cartoon the whistleblower shared on a social media site has caused him to be afraid. The news report does not indicate what the cartoon is, what is says or what it depicts.

Workplace discrimination: Lack of reasonable accommodations

The federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) grants you certain rights within the workplace. It also ensures that people with disabilities have ample and rewarding opportunities to cultivate a career. Unfortunately, the Act only works if employers do their part and do not attempt to go around the ADA or bypass it altogether. Failure to comply may constitute workplace discrimination and could land the employer in hot water.

One of the most valuable elements of the ADA gives disabled workers the right to have access to reasonable accommodations. Essentially, this means that certain changes in the workplace or in how the disabled worker is allowed to perform his or her duties must be made. "Reasonable" is a key word because it implies that employers do not have to make major accommodations that may not be cost effective or may lead to undue hardships.

How can I become a whistleblower if I suspect Medicaid fraud?

As you know, the government's Medicaid program enables low-income Americans to receive health care. It is a hugely important program, especially for children, pregnant women and many others who would otherwise be unable to afford medical care. Unfortunately, the program is also ripe for fraud attempts by unscrupulous health care providers.

Some examples of common Medicaid fraud attempts include:

Recent case proves pregnancy discrimination is alive and well

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is an ongoing problem, but seldom is it as blatantly obvious as a recent situation involving a brokerage firm in Florida.

In the case, a woman applied for a position with a Daytona brokerage firm. She went through multiple interviews and the company offered her the job. After receiving the offer, the woman called the company’s hiring coordinator. During the conversation, the woman asked about maternity benefits and said she was pregnant.

Michigan McDonald's targeted in harassment, discrimination suit

Most people would agree that the world is a much more enlightened place than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Same-sex marriage is now legal and those who embrace a transgender life are largely free to do so without hiding. Unfortunately, the world has not yet reached a place where workplace discrimination and sexual harassment no longer exist.

One Michigan woman knows all too well the pain, suffering and humiliation that sometimes accompany a transgender life. She was employed at a McDonald's franchise in Redford from April to August in 2015. During her employment, she was allegedly subjected to a variety of workplace discrimination and harassment behaviors. Some of these behaviors include: