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Michigan – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination

Abstract

Currently, Michigan has not enacted any statewide legislation prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Michigan Civil Rights Act (hereinafter referred to as the “Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act”), which prohibits employment discrimination based on various categories, including religion, race, and sex, does not prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. Indeed, in Barbour v. Department of Social Services, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that harassment and discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation is not an activity proscribed by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The Barbour court, however, did hold that a gender discrimination claim brought pursuant to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act may be based on incidents of homosexual advances that directly relate to the employee’s gender. More recently, a bill was introduced in January 2007 to include “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression,” but that bill did not go beyond the Judiciary Committee.

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