How Does the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Handle Its Cases?

How Does the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Handle Its Cases?

 The Michigan 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 their online 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 the complaint process per the State of Michigan Department of Civil Rights.  

First Contact 

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. 

Formal 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. 


Commission Decision 

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. Our Michigan 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 a contact form today. We’re here for you. 

How to Clearly Identify Workplace Harassment

How to Clearly Identify Workplace Harassment

The news is inundated with countless stories documenting instances of workplace harassment in government, media, and entertainment. Thanks to reforms and greater awareness of what constitutes harassment, more and more victims are able to identify harassment before it gets out of control.

Countless people, whether they are bystanders, victims, or even potential harassers themselves, still don’t know what constitutes workplace harassment. With a better understanding, collective efforts to combat harassment can become possible. Once identified, in addition to swift action in the workplace, an experienced workplace harassment lawyer should be notified.

Common Kinds of Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment can be defined generally as conduct or language that offenders, endangers, or disrupts an otherwise peaceful and productive workplace dynamic. Harassment isn’t always overt, either. Often, subtle and subliminal dialogue can constitute conduct of a harassing nature.

Despite the generally agreed upon definition, the following are considered the two most common forms of harassment:

  • Quid Pro Quo- Quid pro quo is Latin for, “Something for something.” In the context of workplace harassment, quid pro quo has some specific parameters. It must be committed by someone in a position of power against a subordinate. Quid pro quo is essentially lewd or illicit propositions in exchange for sexual favors. For example, a supervisor offers a promotion to an employee in exchange for sexual acts.
  • Hostile Work Environment- Hostile work environment is a prime example of subtle or subliminal harassment. Using obscene language, making appropriate jokes, or disrupting the peace of colleagues can constitute a hostile work environment. Hostile work environment can also indirectly occur. For example, if  Coworker A incessantly makes sexist jokes to Coworker B and Coworker C is offended, that may constitute a hostile work environment even though Coworker C was a bystander.

Once workplace harassment is identified, victims have a few options at their disposal.

Addressing Workplace Harassment

When workplace harassment happens, several options are on the table for making it stop. Knowing which to choose varies on the particular factors at the time of the incident, as well as available workplace resources.

Here are common methods victims or witnesses of workplace harassment can use to put a stop to the unwelcome behavior:

  • Contacting Human Resources: Most corporations and large employers have dedicated human resources departments. These departments are in place to ensure that workplace harassment is not tolerated under any circumstances. If you suspect that you’re a victim of any kind of workplace harassment, be sure to notify human resources.
  • Document the Incident(s): Documentation is critical. If you’ve received inappropriate emails or messages. Be sure to take screenshots or save these critical pieces of evidence. If you have other colleagues that can vouch for the contact you’ve witnessed or experienced, their accounts can be useful as well.
  • Contact a Workplace Harassment Lawyer: A Michigan workplace harassment lawyer can advise you on the best options going forward once a complaint is filed and may even represent you in a case against an employer that committed or enabled harassing behavior

Among the aforementioned options to stop workplace harassment, hiring an experienced harassment attorney is always essential.

Hire an Experienced Michigan Workplace Harassment Attorney

Workplace harassment should never be tolerated under any circumstances. If you or a colleague have been the victim of workplace harassment, representation is essential. The Detroit-based Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates have defended countless victims from workplace harassment in Michigan, while boasting 60 years of combined experienced.

Our team has fought and won some of the biggest cases in the state, and have won in excess of $1,000,000 for our clients. We can provide you with the same representation to increase your odds of a fair settlement. Call 248-886-8650 or complete our online contact form today.

No Retaliation Against Employees Filing for Michigan Workers’ Compensation

The Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act prohibits employers from retaliating against their employees for filing for workers’ compensation after suffering a workplace injury. If you believe that your employer retaliated against you for filing a claim, you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Michigan to protect your legal rights.

Different Forms of Employer Retaliation

While the ultimate employer retaliation against an employee who files for workers’ compensation benefits can be termination, there are other ways an employer can retaliate, including:

  • “Bad Faith”/obstruction of the workers’ compensation claim process
  • Ridicule, isolation, or threats at work
  • Poor performance reviews and unwarranted disciplinary action
  • Demotion, failure to promote or transfer
  • Pay cuts and reduction or loss of certain benefits
  • Refusal to hire or rehire someone because of filing of previous workers’ compensation claims

Your workers’ compensation attorney in Michigan will look at the specific facts of your case to determine whether, in fact, you were retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you were, you may be entitled to certain rights.

Legal Recourse for Employer Retaliation

If your workers’ compensation attorney in Michigan determines that you were, in fact, retaliated against for filing a workers’ comp claim, you may be entitled to compensation beyond what your workers’ compensation pays. But in order for your claim to be successful, your attorney will need to demonstrate a causal connection between your receipt of medical treatment and the retaliatory actions by your employer. Your attorney will also need to prove that there were no other reasons for your employer’s adverse actions.

If the Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency determines that you were not terminated in retaliation but you were terminated because of your disability, you may be able to file a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Contact Us

If your employer retaliated against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful actions of your employer under Michigan’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Michigan, call the Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates at (800) 961-8477.


Overview of Workers Compensation in Michigan

Getting injured on the job can turn your life upside down. But with the help of a Detroit workers’ comp attorney you can get the workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to under Michigan’s workers’ compensation system.

Michigan Workers’ Compensation Laws

In Michigan, workers’ compensation is compulsory. This means that employers are required to provide worker’s compensation insurance to their employees. Benefits may be provided through a private insurance carrier or the employer may self-insure. Employers that have less than three employees are exempt from this requirement.

Disability Benefits Provided

Under Michigan workers’ compensation law, an employee who suffers a workplace injury may be entitled to benefits for things such as medical costs arising from the injury and lost wages due to disability. If the injury leaves the employee totally incapacitated, he or she may be entitled to up to 80% of his or her average weekly wage. Individuals who are only partially incapacitated may be entitled to 80% of the difference between their weekly wage before the injury and the wage they can earn given the restrictions of their injuries.

Although the amount of money paid under workers’ comp insurance depends on the nature of the injury, typically individuals who are represented by a Detroit workers’ comp attorney tend to recover more benefits.

Filing for Worker’s Comp in Michigan

In order to successfully file for workers’ compensation in Michigan, the injured employee must first inform his or her supervisor. The employer will then need to file a report with the state Workers’ Compensation Agency and inform its insurance carrier. The employer and insurance agent will make a decision as to whether to accept or deny the claim.

In order to increase the chance for approval of a workers’ comp claim, it is in the injured employee’s best interest to consult with a Detroit workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible following the workplace injury.

Contact Us

If you suffered a workplace injury, you may be entitled to benefits under Michigan’s workers’ compensation system. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Detroit workers’ comp attorney, call the Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates at (800) 961-8477.

4 Laws That Protect Whistleblowers

4 Laws That Protect Whistleblowers

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy for some people. Becoming a whistleblower is a difficult decision to make, precisely when an individual knows that a company will retaliate against them. Fortunately, there are provisions in place to protect those who leak paramount information.

False Claims Act

The False Claims Act is probably the best-known law that protects whistleblowers. The statute goes beyond standard protections, offering support for whistleblowers who not only report an incident but investigate, assist, or testify on behalf of the leaker.

Per the False Claims Act, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against an employee when that employee has taken any lawful act. The employee is protected by law if they are suspended, harassed, or discriminated against in any way after exposing any information.

Penalties for employers who retaliate against whistleblowers are severe under the Fair Claims Act. A victim of retaliation is entitled to the following:

  • Reinstatement at work in their previous position and seniority status
  • Twice the amount of back pay owed to them
  • Interest on any back pay owed to them
  • Compensation for special damages as a result of retaliation, including attorney’s fees and costs of litigation

The provisions of the False Claims Act protect employees by allowing them to keep their job, preventing employers from taking retaliatory action against them.

Other Whistleblower Protection Provisions

There are other statutes in place that provide protection to whistleblowers in some types of employment or who report certain types of fraud. The law can protect whistleblowers in two situations.

Federal employees are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, which prohibits an employer or organization from retaliatory action or threats. Furthermore, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 expanded the protections by including threats of security clearance withdrawal.

The SEC Whistleblower Program and CFTC Whistleblower Program in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The programs encourage whistleblowers to step up and report SEC fraud and allows them to be reimbursed for attorney’s fees and other costs, as well as with double back pay.

Find an Experienced Whistleblower Attorney

Having an employment attorney on your side is essential whenever there is a whistleblower situation. Attorneys with Michigan Legal Center have over 20 years of experience protecting workers’ rights throughout the state of Michigan. Call 1-800-961-8477 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Workplace Law: Employer Retaliation

Workplace Law: Employer Retaliation

When an employee experiences conflict at work, they often feel that the right thing to do is to report the conduct either to a supervisor, especially if there are continuous incidents with other co-workers or higher-ups in the company.

Most employees assume that the law protects their jobs if they report a conflict. The reality is that these types of complaints may not be well received, especially for employees who go over their supervisor’s heads to report the conduct. Human resource departments may be of little help in a hostile work environment since their job is not to resolve a conflict among employees but to protect the company from legal liability.

Know Your Rights

Anti-retaliation laws protect only some types of complaints. Retaliation includes behavior such as:

  • Terminating an employee
  • Taking away benefits
  • Demoting the staff member
  • Changing their work schedule without their consent
  • Giving a person extra tasks, outside their standard job description

If you simply do not get along with your boss or other co-workers, complaining about their behavior may not be a wise idea. You may face retaliation and have no legal recourse. However, this shouldn’t stop you from reporting behavior that makes you uncomfortable or is threatening in any way. In that situation, the law is on your side.

An employer cannot retaliate against an employee who engages in protected activities. For example, the title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, and religion. A complaint made in good faith about discriminatory behavior will usually qualify as a protected activity.

Stay on Top of It

Complaints to your company’s human resources department should be as specific as possible, and you should try to obtain evidence to support your claim whenever possible. It is a good idea (though not a legal requirement) to follow the company’s procedures for making complaints. Some companies have a hotline that employees can call to report unsafe or unlawful conduct at work. If there is no specific policy on reporting activities like discrimination and sexual harassment, it is a good idea to make a written report and submit it to your supervisor or the human resources department.

Speak With a Qualified Lawyer from an Employment Law Attorney in Detroit

If an employer retaliates against an employee unlawfully after that individual engaged in a protected activity, they might sue the employer for damages. It is a good idea to contact a lawyer right away if you believe that you’re a victim of unlawful retaliation at work.

An employee can help you understand your legal rights including whether or not your employer’s conduct was lawful. An experienced employment lawyer can also explain your options so that you can decide how to proceed with your claim. The Law Office of Christopher Trainor & Associates has been serving Michigan residents for over 20 years. Our team of well-versed employment attorneys has over 60 years of experience collectively.  Contact our office today at 877-425-0743 today for assistance regarding the rights of employees.