Michigan Workplace Discrimination

Employment discrimination happens when an employer harasses, discriminates against, or otherwise treats a person or group of people differently at work because of their membership in what is considered a protected class. If you believe you have been the victim of workplace discrimination in Michigan, contact a knowledgeable Michigan employment law attorney to discuss your legal rights. You may have grounds to file a workplace discrimination claim against your employer, in order to protect your rights, put a stop to the discrimination or harassment, and possibly even reverse any unlawful employment decisions made by your employer, and an experienced lawyer can help guide you through this process.

Protected Characteristics in Michigan

Under federal anti-discrimination law, a “protected class” is defined as a group of people with a shared characteristic who are legally protected from discrimination or harassment on the basis of that characteristic. The following characteristics are considered to be “protected” by federal anti-discrimination laws:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • Age (40 or older)
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Sex (including pregnancy and childbirth)
  • Citizenship status

State anti-discrimination laws in Michigan also consider the following to be “protected” characteristics: genetic information, marital status, height or weight, HIV/AIDS, and misdemeanor arrest record. While federal anti-discrimination laws only apply to companies of certain sizes, or those with a certain number of employees, Michigan anti-discrimination laws cover companies of any size. Therefore, employers in Michigan with one or more employees are subject to the state’s laws against workplace discrimination.

Michigan Workplace Discrimination | Employment Law Help Center

Harassment and Retaliation at Work

In addition to unlawful treatment on the basis of a protected characteristic, workplace discrimination may also apply to situations where an employee is sexually harassed or retaliated against for reasons that violate his or her rights. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that includes unwelcome sexual advances, obscene remarks, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when this conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance, explicitly or implicitly affects an employee’s employment, or creates a hostile or offensive work environment. Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes, demotes, fires, or otherwise unfairly treats an employee for engaging in a legally protected activity, such as filing a complaint about workplace discrimination, cooperating in a discrimination investigation, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or reporting unsafe working conditions (whistleblower).

Types of Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination can take many forms in the workplace, and can affect either employees or applicants for employment. An employee or job applicant may file a workplace discrimination claim against his or her employer if, for reasons of race, sex, age, disability, national origin, or another protected characteristic, the employee has been:

  • Refused employment
  • Denied promotion
  • Paid less money for equal work
  • Fired without just cause (wrongful termination)
  • Denied representation in a grievance
  • Denied membership in a labor organization
  • Expelled from a labor organization
  • Harassment or subjected to unequal treatment at work
  • Denied admission to a training program

A Michigan Workplace Discrimination Lawyer Can Help

Employment discrimination carried out by an employer or supervisor against an employee or job applicant is a serious offense, and federal and state anti-discrimination laws offer civil remedies for victims of unlawful discrimination in the workplace. If you are an employee or job applicant in Michigan, and an employment decision has been made against you on the basis of a protected characteristic, or in retaliation for you exercising your rights under federal labor law, you may have a claim of workplace discrimination against your employer. Consult a reputable Michigan discrimination lawyer today to discuss your options for legal recourse.