Civil Rights Claims

The state and federal antidiscrimination statutes protect Michigan employees in both the public and private sector against workplace discrimination. All aspects of the employment relationship including hiring, training, demotion, promotion, discipline, compensation and discharge are protected. These statutes allow employees to bring private causes of action for a violation. Employees also have the right to pursue administrative remedies before the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen civil rights act (ELCRA) prohibits discrimination based upon race, age, gender, religion, national origin, weight, and height, as well as marital status. Title VII of the civil rights act of 1967 (Title VII) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. There are federal statutes which prohibit discrimination on the basis of physical disabilities including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Both Michigan and federal law prohibit employers from using sex as a basis for employment decisions or conditions. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment claims include claims known as quid pro quo which occurs when an employer or one of its agents makes compliance with a request for sexual favors as a term or condition of employment. Hostile work environment claims are those in which an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual remarks or conduct either intended to or which in fact interfere with the employee’s employment or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Employees may file suit against employers for both physical and emotional damages as well as economic losses on account of these violations.

Under federal law, the prohibition of sex related discrimination includes pregnancy and childbirth issues.