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Why You Would Need a Discrimination Lawyer In Michigan

Why You Would Need a Discrimination Lawyer in Michigan

September 10, 2018

Despite ongoing efforts to curb sexism, racism and other forms of prejudice in the workplace, discrimination rages on in offices, factories and retail establishments. Workplace discrimination takes a toll on an employee’s self-esteem, job performance and financial well-being, affecting the entire family.

While an employee may be convinced an employer is engaging in discriminatory practices, proving that an employer or company is violating the law is a different story. That is why it is important to have an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer on your side.

Categories of Workplace Discrimination

At the present time, there are state and federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on several categories. In Michigan, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), first enacted in 1976, prohibits discrimination in the following areas: 

  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Physical disability
  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Familial status
  • Marital status

In May 2018, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted to expand the interpretation of the act to include discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. On a Federal level, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects individuals against employment discrimination based on race or color, national origin, sex and religion. This act was amended to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which requires employers to treat workers who have restrictions due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions the same as workers who are temporarily disabled by non-pregnancy-related medical conditions or injuries.

Discrimination is prohibited by law in the following areas of employment:

  • Hiring
  • Harassment
  • Promotion
  • Job assignment
  • Termination
  • Compensation

It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an individual for opposing discriminatory employment practices, including filing a lawsuit or requesting an investigation by a state or federal agency.

Types of Discrimination

Here is a brief explanation of some common kinds of workplace discrimination. If you are being victimized in any of these areas, call a qualified discrimination lawyer immediately.

Sexual Harassment And/Or Sex Discrimination

According to the law, sexual harassment in the workplace includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when it is stated or implied that the victim’s employment will be affected by their response or compliance. 

It is also illegal for an employer (or another employee) to create a “hostile environment” where a victim is made to feel uncomfortable through suggestive remarks, offensive actions or other forms of sexual intimidation. Because these cases are often hard to prove, it is crucial to hire a good workplace discrimination lawyer who understands the law and the evidence required to win your case.

Race Discrimination

In addition to the Elliott-Larsen Act, discrimination based on race is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The laws prohibit refusing to hire or promote an employee based on race, in addition to ethnic slurs, racial “jokes” or other offensive comments and behavior. 

If an employer asks job applicants for information that indicates their race or color and then does not hire those members of a minority group, the employer’s pre-employment requests could be grounds for a discrimination claim.  

Disability Discrimination

Discrimination based on disability is prohibited by Michigan law via the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA) and the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title I.

Under Michigan law, an employer must make accommodations for disabled workers, except when to do so would create an undue hardship. Employers are not allowed to ask job applicants about the existence, nature or severity of a disability. They may ask about an applicant’s ability to perform specific job functions, just as they would ask any prospective employee. 

Age Discrimination

Unfortunately, age discrimination is very much so alive in the workplace. While it is prohibited by the Elliott-Larsen Act and the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals 40 years and older, many employers find ways to get around the law. While an employer might not directly ask prospective employees their age, many applications ask for high school or college graduation dates, which makes it fairly easy to estimate age.

Religious Discrimination

Employers may not treat employees or job applicants differently because of their religious beliefs or practices. Additionally, an employer must make reasonable accommodations when necessary, such as flexible scheduling, job reassignments or reasonable changes in workplace practices, policies and procedures. 

“Workplace discrimination exists in a wide variety of businesses, yet it can be very hard to prove,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “That’s why you need an experienced discrimination lawyer to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one is experiencing workplace discrimination of any kind, call us immediately.”

Workplace discrimination law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.