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Michigan LGBTQ+ Discrimination Protection Ballot Proposal

Nov 16 | 2020  by

A new ballot initiative that would provide protections to the LGBTQ+ community is gaining steam in Michigan. The LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in State Civil Rights Law Initiative proposes to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for the LGBTQ+ community. You may remember the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that federal civil rights laws included gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classifications – watch my video on this topic. The proposed ballot initiative – if passed – would codify civil rights protections for the LGBTQ+ community at the state level.

Under the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, discrimination on the basis of “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status” in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations and services is prohibited. This ballot initiative would define “sex” to include gender, sexual identity, and gender identity or expression, protecting people from discrimination based on these classifications.

You may recall that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission already recognized gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classifications.

However, it is important to note that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission is an administrative body, meaning its interpretations and recognition of protections for these classifications can change with a new administration. The ballot initiative would solidify these protections making it so that the commission would be unable to change course on this issue.

Is your business having difficulty adapting to the recent LGBTQ+ discrimination protection laws? Or are you looking to update your workplace policies and practices? Whichever it is, now is the time to re-evaluate your policies, practices, and employee handbooks. Contact Business Attorney Brandon Grysko by email or by phone at 248-380-0000 to make sure your business is heading in the right direction!