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Sterling Employment Law

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.

At this time, the 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act does not provide protection for LGBTQ citizens in Michigan. This means that individuals and groups could engage in workplace discrimination and other forms of discrimination against LGBTQ residents and remain within the law.

Other groups are expressing support for Equality Michigan's request including LGBT Detroit and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan. These groups cite a number of court rulings and federal policies that have extended discrimination protections to members of the LGBT communities.

Until workplace discrimination in all its forms becomes an ugly memory in America, victims have the right to seek a remedy by questioning the laws. If these attempts to create change through legislation fail, victims can continue their good work by holding those who engage in workplace discrimination to account. In the end, any efforts by the public to abolish workplace discrimination matter. Please contact an attorney if you have suffered from discrimination in the Michigan workplace.

Source: The Edwardsville Intelligencer, "LGBT group asks Michigan commission for legal protections," Aug. 13, 2017

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