TheMichigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is a government-appointed agency that “investigates and resolves discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws.” Their mission is to support the United States Civil Rights division and uphold various civil rights laws and constitutional amendments—protecting Michigan residents from discrimination against race, color, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, marital status, etc.
The MDCR handles discrimination complaints in employment, housing, public accommodations, public service, law enforcement, and education. If you’re a victim of discrimination or have a civil rights–related issue, you can contact the MDCR by filing a complaint through theironline portal or by calling 800-482-3604. It may be in your best interest to hire an employment law attorney, as the complaints process can be difficult. The trusted attorneys at Michigan Legal Center will do everything necessary to protect your interests and rights.
Michigan Department of Civil Rights Complaint Process
In order to have a viable complaint, you must notify the MDCR of a violation within 180 days. The MDCR complaints process is rigorous and thorough, involving several steps to ensure a reasonable decision is made. The following information outlines each step of thecomplaint process per the State of Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
The first step in the complaints process is for an individual to contact the MDCR with any questions or civil rights–related issues they may be experiencing. The department can be reached via email, phone, mail, TTY, or in person. This is only an initial contact designed to help the department address or resolve any allegations before filing an official complaint.
If the MDCR considers the complaint to be time-sensitive and within their jurisdiction, the department will properly exercise its power through proceeding with a formal complaint. The individual pursuing the complaint is known as a claimant. The claimant will be asked to sign an official document in presence of a notary public. The notarized document will then be filed in the department’s docket system and the claimant will be sent a docket number assigned to their case. The respondent (the opposing party) will be presented with a copy of the document, detailing the claimant’s allegations.
The documents served to the respondent indicate the amount of time that the respondent has to answer the complaint. Typically, they will have a minimum of 14 days in which they either must agree to mediate or establish a mutually acceptable resolution.
If the parties agree to mediation, the mediation process will begin immediately with the assistance of a licensed and trained mediator. The mediator will act as a facilitator to help the parties through negotiations, as well as making the discussion as effective as possible by identifying issues, avoiding communication obstacles, and exploring alternatives. They may also assist in constructing a contract between the parties.
Both parties may be invited to attend a fact-finding conference administered by an MDCR investigator. The face-to-face meeting is designed to further explore the possibility of a voluntary settlement agreed to by both parties or through an investigation. In the meeting, each party can present their case and evidence in support of their position. If no resolution is made, the MDCR will continue to process the complaint by conducting an investigation.
During the investigation, both parties will be given the chance to provide evidence to support or refute that the allegations be investigated based on the complaint. The MDCR may undergo several different investigative procedures such as a site visit, additional claimant interviews, and supplemental witness interviews.
After the investigation, the civil rights investigator on the case provides a report that contains a finding formed upon a comprehensive analysis of the facts and evidence. If there is insufficient evidence to back the claimant’s complaint, the investigator will direct an exit interview with the claimant and the case will be dismissed. If the claimant is not satisfied with the investigator’s decision, a petition for reconsideration may be filed.
If there is enough evidence to support the claimant’s accusations, the respondent will be summoned to participate in a conciliation conference. The conference is a private meeting between the respondent, their representatives, and the department, where there will be an open discussion about the complaint. The conciliator will offer a proposed solution and if the respondent accepts, then the complaint can be closed. This is the final attempt to resolve the complaint before moving forward with a legal hearing.
Legal Review/ Public Hearing
When conciliation is ineffective, the MDCR may issue a formal charge, requiring the parties to attend a public hearing. One or more civil rights commissioners or a hearing referee will oversee the hearing. Witnesses are required to declare a sworn testimony and the Federal rules of evidence apply. The claimant and the department bear the burden of proof.
After the hearing is held and there is a confirmation of the referee’s report, the Civil Rights Commission will form an appropriate order—either through the dismissal of the complaint or imposing that remedial actions be taken on behalf of the respondent. Before the commission makes a final order, they may request that the circuit court establish an appropriate order.
If either party disagrees with the final decision made by the Civil Rights Commission, they may request the circuit court to review the case.
Contact a Michigan Employment Law Attorney for Help
At Michigan Legal Center, Attorney Christopher Trainor and his associates are well versed in employment law focused on employees’ rights. If you believe your job has adversely, unlawfully, or unrightfully discriminated against you, our team can help investigate whether your employer has engaged in any illegal conduct. OurMichigan employment attorneys are readily available to answer any questions or concerns you may have on employment law issues.
Let Michigan Legal Center be your go-to firm for legal guidance. Contact us for a free evaluation or discover how our employment attorneys can assist you in recovering your losses by calling 248-886-8650 or completing acontact form today. We’re here for you.
Back in early June, lawmakers proposed a bill to ban police use of facial recognition software. Prohibiting the use of facial recognition would make it unlawful for authorities to obtain or utilize surveillance data from biometric systems. This bill was introduced after several cases of false arrests were reported across the United States, including a Detroit man by the name of Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, who waswrongfully arrested after facial recognition software mistakenly flagged his photo with closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of a shoplifter.
In addition, large technology companies like Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft, who provide software to law enforcement agencies, have repositioned their stance on facial recognition in support of the dangers it presents. So, should the use of facial recognition technology be banned from police use? The stance you choose to take on this is entirely up to you. Let’s take a deeper look at facial recognition and its uses, costs, and benefits.
What Is Facial Recognition?
Facial recognition is a type of computer software engineered to map and analyze facial features It’s capable of identifying people in photographs, videos, or security footage. Based on a set of algorithms, the software picks up on specific facial characteristics, patterns, and measurements to verify a person’s identity. As of now, there are no laws against facial recognition, meaning it’s nearly impossible to protect your data from being stored.
Likely, the concept of facial recognition isn’t new to you. Many mobile phones and apps use facial recognition for access authorization. Airports and businesses have high-tech software to identify potential threats. The data collected has specific uses depending on who’s obtaining it, so how is it being used when it’s in police hands?
How Police Use Facial Recognition
Police use facial-recognition software to locate suspicious persons and criminals in order to make the public safer. Collections of mugshots, jail booking records, driver’s license pictures, or passport photos are stored in a national database that can be accessed per request by law enforcement. If there’s a surveillance video or photo of you and police want to verify your identity, they can cross-examine your face with information in the national database.
Facial recognition is a preferred method of identification because it’s instant, whereas DNA tracing can take days to assemble. However, concerns about privacy and its efficiency are being raised as more and more innocent people are being falsely identified.
Pros and Cons of Facial Recognition
Technology has inevitably made life easier. However, there’s no doubt that it’s imperfect. Facial recognition carries certain benefits and costs, with most of the positives pertaining to police. For instance, some of the major advantages of facial recognition include:
Safety and security
Efficiency in policing
On the other hand, the disadvantages of facial recognition ignite fear in the public. Some of the biggest drawbacks of facial recognition include:
Invasion of privacy
Vulnerability to hackers
Wrongfully Arrested? Contact an Experienced Michigan False Arrest Lawyer
False arrests can be embarrassing and bring unreasonable hardship to you and your family. If you were wrongfully arrested, don’t take it lightly with the hope that the matter will be easily resolved. Consult an experienced Michigan false arrest lawyer who knows the best way to approach your case. You deserve the competency of a legal firm like Michigan Legal Center to ensure your rights are protected.
Here at Michigan Legal Center, our legal team represents clients in Michigan who are subject to false arrests. When your civil rights are violated, turn to us to demand the monetary compensation you’re rightfully owed. We’ll investigate your case and determine your best course of action moving forward. Request a free case evaluation by calling 248-886-8650 or completing acontact form.
Over the past few months—amid rising racial tensions andpolice brutality—protesters have flooded the streets of Michigan and across the United States. While most of these massive demonstrations have been peaceful, others have taken a turn for the worse. Violent riots, civil unrest, and looting have brought chaos to communities and put innocent lives at risk.
When violent protests get uncontrollable, it happens quickly and suddenly. Damage can be severe, people can get injured, and property can be destroyed. If your car is unexpectedly caught in a dangerous riot, there’s not much you can do to prevent it from being damaged. The most important thing to do is to get to a secure place to ensure your safety. Here’s some information about insurance coverage and car damage that can help you deal with the aftermath.
Car Insurance and Riots: Am I Protected Against Damage?
Technically, if your car was damaged in a riot and you can locate the rioter or rioters that damaged your vehicle and have proof of their wrongdoing, then you may be able to hold them liable. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. You’re probably wondering if insurance coverage protects you, and typically the answer is yes—most car insurance policies cover damage caused by riots. However, insurance companies are not always required to cover your losses.
If you don’t have protection against theft or vandalism, typically in the form of comprehensive insurance coverage, then you may not be able to file a car insurance claim. Depending on your insurance policy, there may be specific exclusions and conditions for damages caused by civil disorder. In several states, property damage has exceeded $25 million, reaching what’s known as a “catastrophic level.” An insurance-related catastrophe refers to disasters, whether natural or human-made, such as a hurricane, terrorist attack, or riot. Yet, not many standard auto insurance policies include catastrophe coverage since they are not as common.
What’s Covered Under Comprehensive Insurance Coverage?
Comprehensive insurance coverage protects your car from physical damage losses unrelated to a collision. Liability is typically not an influencing factor, as you would purchase this coverage in addition to your liability, property, and other insurance protection. Some events that your comprehensive coverage may include are:
Theft or vandalism
Hail, wind, or flood damage
Explosion, earthquake, or tornado
Again, as with any insurance-related claim, your individual circumstances and policy contract will determine if these situations are covered. You’ll want to look over your insurance policy and contact your insurer to identify what you’re protected against. Generally, broken windows, body damage, or fire damage are covered.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Damage Caused by Riots
If you have comprehensive insurance coverage and want to file a claim for damages, you’ll first want to verify your policy, as you may have to pay a deductible. If you’re deductible is high and your damage is not extensive, then it may not be wise to go through your insurance. If you’re going to file an insurance claim, here are some tips to help ease the process:
Immediately file your claim
Don’t repair anything until the adjuster examines the damage
Save receipts for out of pocket expenses (Uber trips or other transportation expenses)
Take pictures of the damage
Document the location of your vehicle
Contact the police
Obtain the police report
Retain an attorney if there is a dispute
Pursue a Claim for Car Damage with Top Michigan Attorneys
Civil disorder can be a disturbing experience, leaving a lasting impact on your life. This is especially true if your property is damaged or if you suffer injuries through the actions of dangerous civilians. What’s more, if you’re not fully covered for damages caused by riots—and even if you are—insurance claims take time, and full reimbursement is often not awarded. Dealing with insurance companies or identifying other potential options for monetary recovery doesn’t have to be done alone. Reach out to a personal injury and accident attorney atMichigan Legal Center.
At Michigan Legal Center, we’re committed to helping you restore your life after an unexpected accident. With over 60 years of experience and millions of dollars recovered, our Michigan personal injury and accident attorneys are prepared to aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (248) 886-8650 or completing acontact form.
Whether you’re attending a protest, organizing a rally, or just want to publicly document a demonstration, it’s important to know your rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects many forms of expression, including the right to peacefully participate in protests and marches. However, there are a few restrictions that the police and other government officials are sanctioned to enforce. Before you hit the streets, know your rights.
What Am I NOT Allowed to Do at a Protest?
You may have many questions when you decide to organize and speak out. Learn about your constitutional rights when protesting, the limits on those rights, and when your actions could be illegal. Here are a few things you can’t do at a protest:
Threaten violence: The first amendment broadly protects speech, including provocative viewpoints and condemnation of nearly anything under the sun. However, you can’t incite imminent violence or other illegal activity that threatens harm to people or property.
Carry out violence: In a similar vein, it’s illegal to participate in violent and destructive behavior, even if you’re expressing a political message.
Threaten the president or vice president: It’s considered a federal felony to knowingly and willfully threaten harm upon the president or vice president of the United States.
Block traffic: While you’re permitted to protest in public areas, you can’t obstruct normal vehicular traffic or block citizens from walking by on foot, unless you have a permit. Likewise, you can’t barricade private property.
Physically disrupt or drown out other speakers: Two opposing groups are permitted to be within the same general area, but law enforcement has the right to separate them. While heckling is allowed, it can’t become disruptive to a point where one group can no longer peacefully express themselves.
Be wary of protesting on private property. Owners can set rules for speech on their property, and they can restrict your ability to take photographs and shoot video.
What AM I Allowed to Do at a Protest?
While government officials are allowed to place narrow restrictions on the exercise of speech rights, it’s important to know what you’re allowed to do at a peaceful protest. Knowing your rights can get you out of a sticky situation.
Exercise your free speech rights on public property: As long as you’re not impeding civilians, obstructing traffic, or inciting violence, you’re allowed to express yourself in any way you see fit, even if your message is controversial. This could be through signs, t-shirts, flags, and more.
Approach other people in public areas: You may hand out leaflets, newspapers, and petitions to passersby. However, you can’t impede them from walking away, and you must leave them alone if asked to do so.
Counterprotest: You’re allowed to protest another protest, and law enforcement officials must treat protesters and counter protesters equally. You’re allowed to be within a reasonable distance of another group, but the police can separate you should it get violent or antagonistic.
Photograph or take videos of anything in plain view, including the police: You can document your surroundings if you’re on public property. On private property, owners can determine the rules related to photography and video.
March on private property, as long as you have a permit: If you plan to march on the streets and sidewalks, use an amplifying device, or hold a rally over a certain size, you must obtain a permit first.
A police officer is not permitted to ask you to “disperse,” unless the protest has become destructive or otherwise illegal. In this case, if you fail to obey the order, officers have the right to arrest you, even if you’re not committing an act of violence.
It’s also important to know that the police are legally allowed to protest undercover. Additionally, they may attend meetings to learn about plans for illegal activity.
Law enforcement officials have the right to search demonstrators if there’s a reasonable suspicion that they’re about to perform an illegal act. Likewise, they can check bags and containers at the entrance to a marked or secure area. Otherwise, officers can’t search through your belongings, nor can they confiscate or demand to see your photographs without a warrant.
If Your Rights Have Been Violated, Call a Lawyer
Everyone in this country has the right to protest. If you’re facing charges for protesting peacefully and you believe your rights have been infringed, you need a knowledgeable civil rights attorney on your side. The expert lawyers at theMichigan Legal Center have more than 20 years of experience helping clients and have won more than $200 million worth of legal cases. Our professional team specializes in creating strong cases for our clients and we strive to defend the residents of Michigan. Give us a call at 1-800-961-8477 or contact us online for your free consultation.
Coronavirus has changed the way of life of Americans across the United States in more ways than one. In late March, businesses, schools, churches, and community organizations all closed their doors to slow the spread of COVID-19. The shutdown of the economy forced many people out of their jobs and into a state of life they weren’t prepared for. One hardship that isn’t publicized as often as others is the rise of discrimination related to the the virus. Here, we’re going to take a look at how the spread of COVID-19 has impacted hate crimes in Michigan, specifically in the Asian American community.
Where Did COVID-19 Originate?
Coronaviruses are not uncommon among the human population. In fact, there are numerous coronaviruses that present themselves as common upper respiratory colds and infections among the general population. According to the CDC, on February 11, 2019, the first case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was reported in Wuhan, China. The current coronavirus is different from the others, however, because it originated in bats. The virus was first transferred from bats to humans via an open-air wet market.
As news of the new virus spread across the world, many people (including President Trump) referred to it on national media channels as “the Chinese Virus.” Other nicknames for it include “the Kung Flu” and “the Wuhan Flu”. Even if it was not the intent of those using the nicknames, such language caused fear and a negative perception of Asian Americans.
COVID-19 and Asian American Discrimination in Michigan
In the state of Michigan, there have been multiple incidents of hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Department of Justice, hate crimes include crimes committed on the basis of a victim’s perceived color, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, or disability.
Some examples of hate crimes committed against Asian Americans in Michigan include a grocery worker being spat at and a worker at a butcher being verbally assaulted by a customer because of his race.
What is lost on the people committing such hate crimes is that the Asian American population is also highly involved in finding a cure for the illness and treating patients.
Is the Asian American Population at Risk in Michigan?
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants the state to know that hate crimes against Asian Americans (or any hate crimes) will not be tolerated. Recently, the state of Michigan developed a hate crime unit to combat these types of crimes and develop measures to prevent them from happening in the future. Although these are great first steps towards justice, it does not mean hate crimes will not happen in Michigan.
Any person who is a victim of a hate crime should make the actions against them known as soon as possible. A hate crime is a violation of your civil rights. The sooner you obtain legal counsel, the sooner they will be able to win justice for your case.
Trusted Legal Counsel For Civil Rights Cases in Michigan
All Michigan residents should have full protection of their civil rights under the law. If you or someone you know is the victim of a hate crime, we will fight for you and your civil rights. You have rights according to the law, and if your life is put at risk as a violation of those rights, you have a strong case against the other party.
If you’ve been the victim of any kind of violence related to your race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, consult the attorneys at the Michigan Legal Center. We specialize in creating strong cases in our clients’ favor. With more than 20 years of experience and more than $200 million worth of legal case victories, we’re here to defend the residents of Michigan. Call 1-800-961-8447 for your free consultation.
If you’ve watched the news at all over the last six months, you have probably heard the term “hate crime.” A hate crime, as defined by the FBI, is a crime where the perpetrator acted based on bias against the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin. Most hate crimes are violent in nature.
Whether a hate crime is committed against someone because of the color of their skin or their religious practices, it is against the law. In Michigan, anyone who commits a hate crime can be charged with a felony.
Hate Crimes Have Increased For Two Consecutive Years
The rate of hate crimes has increased steadily in the recent past. For two years in a row, the state of Michigan ranked fourth in the number of hate crimes in the United States. Specifically, in the year 2017, Michigan recorded 456 hate crimes, which was an increase from the 399 recorded in 2016. This data is gathered from law enforcement agencies that choose to report on hate crimes, so most civil rights activists believe that the actual number is significantly higher. Another alarming statistic regarding hate crimes in Michigan is the number of hate groups that call the state home. In 2018, the official count was 31.
Although hate crimes are nothing new in the United States, the dramatic increase over the past few years has caused many states, including Michigan, to take a look at the current methods they have in place to eradicate such heinous behavior.
What Is The Source of Hate In Michigan?
There are numerous conflicting theories on what has caused the increase of hate crimes in Michigan over recent years. A popular opinion regarding the source of hate is that Donald Trump’s presidency has made it possible for hate groups to come out into the light. Individuals who believe Trump is the root of these hateful acts feel as though he empowers those who engage in hate crimes because they see him as a “symbol of white identity.”
Since President Trump took office in 2016, crimes against LGBTQ+ communities, racial minorities, and religious minorities have increased. All too often, these crimes are violent and some have even resulted in death. Such criminal activity and loss of life is unacceptable anywhere, and certainly in the United States.
Did Michigan Create a Hate Crime Task Force?
In response to the increase of hate crimes in the state, Michigan took action. The District Attorney’s Office implemented a Hate Crimes Unit and the Department of Civil Rights created plans to begin documenting hate incidents that don’t become a crime or civil infraction. These two initiatives showcase Michigan’s stance of intolerance against acts of hate. The lawmakers in the state want it to be known that they will not accept this type of criminal behavior or injustice. They hope they can reduce the cloud of hate hanging over the country through the work of the Hate Crimes Unit and the Department of Civil Rights.
Any person who has experienced a hate crime should know that they are entitled to justice because they have civil rights. Just because hate crimes are increasing across the United States does not mean they should be accepted. If you or someone you know is a victim of violent or hateful criminal activity, you should contact a trusted attorney as soon as possible to fight for you.
Michigan Attorneys Experienced In Fighting Hate Crimes
In Michigan, the attorneys at Christopher Trainor & Associates have been practicing law for more than twenty years. All of the legal professionals at our office care deeply about each client and believe that no one person is more important than the next. For that reason, we do whatever it takes to help them succeed.
If you have been the victim of a hate crime and your civil rights have been violated, you need experienced legal counsel on your side. Our knowledgeable legal team will work tirelessly to fight for you and your case.
A free consultation might be just what you need to win the justice you deserve and take control of your future. Call 1-800-961-8477 or contact us online today.