In a move that has New York sexual harassment lawyers taking notice, The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition is aggressively lobbying to add LGBT discrimination to the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Backed by major companies like Whirlpool, Dow Chemical, Google and Blue Cross Blue Shield, a newly formed coalition is working tirelessly move Michigan out of the list of 29 states in the country that do not currently include sexual orientation and gender identification in their anti-discrimination laws.
Currently, the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight or marital status. Thirty-three state municipalities have taken it upon themselves to enact local laws banning LGBT discrimination. Michigan’s heavy hitters in competitive industries are looking to take this to the state level and outlaw LGBT discrimination for good.
Vicki Levengood, the spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, summed the issue up in a statement of support. “I’m frequently surprised how many people don’t know Michigan doesn’t already outlaw discrimination against the LGBT community.” Furthermore, Levengood goes on to spotlight the economic advantages to protecting this community by saying that “there are real economic implications to either including or not including LGBT protections in Michigan’s civil rights law. The impacts are more than just to an individual. It impacts Michigan’s economic climate and viability.”
Not surprisingly, conservatives and faith-based camps are strongly opposing these measures by arguing that sexual orientation and race are simply not equal in their need for protection.
In NYC, workplace discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation is already illegal. An attorney can help you file a claim if you have been harassed for being gay, lesbian, transgender, queer or bisexual.
The Michigan issue will hopefully be resolved within the year.
The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in New York City. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 for a free consultation.