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Sterling Employment Law

Michigan may soon implement new workplace discrimination law

Michigan is an equal opportunity state. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) was set up to receive complaints against and take action when any reports are filed regarding discrimination based on race, sex etc. Any discrimination in places of employment, housing and education are prohibited by this Michigan law. Complaints can be made on the grounds of height, sex, race, age, marital status etc. MCRC also has the power and authority to order appropriate remedies after investigating the complaints.

Recently, the Supreme Court has sanctioned gay or same-sex marriages. The governor of Michigan even persuaded legislators to prohibit workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation in Michigan's civil rights and laws. Private companies were further urged to amend respective workplace laws. However, the governor did not specify any specific amendment to the 1976 Civil Rights Act.

There have already been amendments to Civil Rights laws in 21 states. The Michigan Human Rights Campaign also supports the causes of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. And quite a few large corporations have already adopted legal protection for the LGBT community, while some companies seem a little hesitant to do so expressly. The governor of Michigan seems to be sympathetic to the cause, but he did say that the viewpoints of the business community would be taken into account before taking any further legislative action.

While the movement and the recent campaign by the governor are indeed positive steps towards recognizing the rights of the LGBT community in workplaces, it has yet to be codified. Equality Michigan, a group advocating gay rights, is one of the major proponents for the right to eradicate workplace discrimination for the LGBT community. However, the law, which is not yet specifically codified, still remains vague. Thus, it might serve one's best interest to consult an attorney if someone is faced with such workplace discrimination.

Source: AP The Big Story, "Michigan mulls update to gay discrimination law," David Eggert, May 29, 2014

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