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Filing discrimination charges

Employee discrimination charges can be filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Discrimination, under Michigan's Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act, is asserted any time an employer uses race, color, national origin, age, sex, weight, height, marital status, religious beliefs or the arrest record of an individual to preclude them from employment or to harass or treat them unfairly in the workplace.

Do all employers fall under this law? Any employer who has employees is subjected to the Michigan discrimination laws. The MDCR handles discrimination cases for workplaces with less than 14 employees. The EEOC enforces the discrimination law for workplaces with 15 or more employees.

Discrimination against individuals because of a physical or mental disability is also illegal under the Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act. This Act also includes the prevention of discriminating against individuals with AIDS or HIV.

To prove you have been discriminated against by an employer in the hiring process, you must have been the most qualified applicant for the position. If a more qualified individual was selected for the position, you cannot prove that you were not hired based on discrimination.

Discrimination in the workplace is when you feel you are receiving differential treatment than other employees. This may include being passed over for a promotion, being demoted or fired, being harassed sexually, having to listen to vulgar or insulting remarks, being forced to work overtime, not being granted permission to take time off or a number of other treatment that differs from the way other employees are treated.

If you experience workplace discrimination, you may be able to file a discrimination charge yourself, but you should retain legal help in pursuing your case. Your employer will be working hard to prove that no discrimination actually took place. An attorney can litigate the substantial facts of your case. You have civil rights, and Michigan has laws to protect those rights.

Source: Workplace Fairness, "Filing a Discrimination Claim - Michigan," accessed Jan. 19, 2018

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