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Filing a discrimination case in Michigan

Michigan law is very specific about protecting its citizens from workplace discrimination. The law makes it clear that it is illegal to discriminate against any person on the "basis of age, arrest record, color, height, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability (including AIDS and HIV), race, religion, sex and weight." No company, no matter how big or small, is exempt from the discrimination laws.

When it comes to filing a discrimination case, Michigan laws are also specific. Having an attorney at the onset is a good idea since he or she will readily know the steps to take and the evidence you may need.

Two agencies work together to try to resolve claims filed in Michigan: the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) nd the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A claim can be filed at either of these two agencies, but when filing with one of them, you need to request that the claim be cross-filed with the other agency.

While both agencies will work to resolve your claim, the timeframes for filing with these agencies are different. With the MDCR, you must file a workplace discrimination claim within 180 days of the discriminatory misconduct. With the EEOC, you must file within 300 days of the misconduct.

If the MDCR and EEOC are unable to resolve your discrimination claim, you may file your claim in a court of law. Filing with the MDCR is not required before filing a claim in state courts; however, you cannot file a claim in a federal court without filing through the EEOC first.

Also before filing in a federal court, you must obtain a release of claim from the EEOC. A release of claim is either a "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" document or a "Right to Sue" document. You must then file your claim in the federal court within 90 days of obtaining the release of claim.

If you have a workplace discrimination case, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Filing sooner than later will protect you from missing a deadline that could be crucial in your case.

Source: Labor Law Center, "Michigan (MI) Discrimination Laws in the Workplace," accessed April 03, 2018

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