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What to do about discrimination in the workplace

Michigan employment discrimination laws are written to protect one's rights in the workplace. Discrimination is the act of treating an individual or group of people different or unfairly based upon membership in a protected class of people, such as race, sex, age or religion.

Under Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, it is illegal in the workplace for an employer to discriminate based on "religion, race, color, national origin, sex, age, weight, height, marital status, or arrest record." Employers also cannot discriminate based on a physical or mental disability, AIDS or HIV under the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act.

If you have been discriminated against in your workplace, what should you do?

Seek legal advice. No one should have to work in an environment where they are treated unfairly. These situations are exactly what the laws were written to prohibit, with the sole purpose of protecting your civil rights.

What if I am afraid of retaliation?

It is not uncommon to fear retaliation when you speak up for your rights. Your attorney can help you get through it. With someone working alongside you and providing support, it is much easier to deal with the ramifications.

Why should I file a discrimination charge against my employer?

If you do not file charges, you are essentially letting the perpetrator get away with infringing upon your rights as a citizen. Discrimination can be a type of bullying. If your employer discriminates against you, chances are, he or she will do the same to others. Your job and livelihood may also be at stake if it continues.

If you have a suspicion that you may be close to being terminated unfairly, speak to your attorney before the situation goes too far. Your attorney can strategize with you in an effort to keep your job and counter the negative actions being taken against you.

Source: Workplace Fairness, "Filing a Discrimination Claim - Michigan," accessed Dec. 08, 2017

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