Michigan Supreme Court: Michigan’s anti-discrimination statute protects LGBTQ people

Jul 29, 2022 | Business, Employment, General, Legal Update

On July 28, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Michigan’s anti-discrimination statute, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which was enacted in 1976, applies to gay and transgender people. That law prohibits discrimination based upon sex, religion, race, color, age, nationality, height, weight, or marital status. The issue before the Court was whether the prohibition against discrimination based on “sex” applied to sexual orientation and transgender people — the Court held that it does. This means that Michigan businesses cannot lawfully refuse to serve people based on their sexual orientation or if they are transgender, and companies likewise cannot make employment decisions based on those characteristics.

This is a huge and important win for LGBTQ folks, and employers and business providers of services must make sure they do not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or transgender status.

To ensure your business is compliant with this new case, we would highly recommend that business owners promptly amend their employment handbooks to specifically include an anti-discrimination statement for their LGBTQ and transgender employees and job applicants. 

Here is a link to the AP article on the ruling: https://apnews.com/article/discrimination-michigan-gay-rights-supreme-court-sturgis-b6504556c7358b82fa919b820efc2d93

And here is a link to the actual case decision: https://www.courts.michigan.gov/4a223d/siteassets/case-documents/opinions-orders/msc-term-opinions-(manually-curated)/21-22/rouch-world-op.pdf

If you have any questions on how this ruling affects your business, or if you would like our assistance in drafting or updating your employee manual, be sure to give us a call at 833-NEEDLAW.

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