The United States has made considerable progress in recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, including the national legalization of same-sex marriage. However, Michigan seems to be lagging in this area, at least when it comes to discrimination against the LGBT community in the workplace. This is because protection against such discrimination is not guaranteed under state law.
Laws That Do Protect LGBT Rights in Michigan
Created in 1963, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission was designed to protect minority groups in many ways. The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976 prohibits discrimination based on sex. Sexual orientation was not part of the law, which means that discrimination against the LGBT community is still allowed in Michigan.
LGBT workers do have some rights under the current laws of Michigan. The state does consider both same-sex harassment and sexual stereotyping as forms of discrimination. Protections are also available through some local ordinances and for those employed as federal contractors.
The federal law was also used as the basis of a decision by the 6th Circuit Court, which is responsible for deciding constitutional issues in Michigan and which ruled in favor of the LGBT community. Currently, the federal government has altered its stance on this issue under President Donald Trump, with the U.S. Department of Justice claiming that protections guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act do not extend to sexual orientation.
Changes To Look For
Civil rights groups are currently promoting reforms that will expand the scope of the original law, with the commission expected to take up these issues later this year. Additionally, the Michigan State Senate is working on a bill that will protect gay and transgender workers from discriminatory employment practices.
This issue has caused disagreements among state and federal officials, mainly since a 2012 ruling by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that transgender discrimination constituted discrimination. There is general agreement among many observers that discrimination continues to be a problem in Michigan and needs to be addressed.
What To Do When Rights Violations Occur
There is also agreement that the absence of protections should not prevent those in the LGBT community from reporting acts of discrimination or even seeking help from a civil rights attorney. If you feel that you were discriminated against based on your sexual orientation, seek advice from an experienced law firm. They will help you decide what you want to do next.
Michigan Legal Center will fight for your rights and see that justice is served. Do not allow yourself to be discriminated against the workplace because of your sexual orientation. Our experienced civil rights and employment lawyers will review your case and guide you in taking the necessary legal steps needed. Contact us today and receive a free case evaluation.