When it comes to Michigan sexual discrimination law in the workplace, the state has its own civil rights act. The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against its employees on the basis of sex.
Under this act, an employer is someone who has one or more employees. This differs from the federal law because Title VII only applies to those employers who have fifteen or more employees. This law covers discrimination in conditions of employment based on the employee’s gender. This also includes a prohibition of discrimination due to pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions. Sexual harassment is also illegal under this act when submission to the conduct is a condition of employment or a factor affecting an employee’s job or when it creates a hostile working environment.
If you want to file a complaint against your employer, you must do so with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights within 180 days of the alleged civil rights violation. You can either visit or email your regional office to file the complaint.
Someone with the Department will help you file your complaint. What you’ll need to do is write a “Statement of Concern” which the Department will submit to your employer. The Department then gives your employer an opportunity to respond to the complaint and resolve the issue.
From there, a Civil Rights Representative will look at your complaint and determine if there is reasonable cause to believe your rights have been violated. If reasonable cause is found, you’ll then enter the conciliation process with your employer. If you are unable to reach a settlement, your case will enter a public hearing.
You do have the option to go directly through the federal or state courts if you don’t want to go through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. First, though, you’ll need to request a “Right to Sue” letter from either the EEOC or the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
It’s up to employers and employees to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to discrimination in the workplace. Employers can help with this process by always keeping and up-to-date Michigan Labor Law Poster posted in the workplace.