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MCRC: Discrimination against LGBTQ people is prohibited under Elliott-Larson

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For the first time in Michigan, people can file a complaint if they are discriminated against for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. 

The state's Elliott-Larson Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, among other categories. Today the Michigan Civil Rights Commission adopted a regulation stating that "sex" under the Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Stephanie White, executive director of Equality Michigan, says the decision sends an important message: "Michigan is not a place that is going to tolerate this kind of discrimination any more."

White says there are many examples of discrimination that can come before the Commission now. Those include getting fired, or not being hired, because your spouse is the same sex, or being refused an apartment because the landlord thinks you are gay. 

People who face employment or job discrimination for being transgender or non-conforming to gender norms can also bring complaints.

The commission has the authority to levy fines against individuals or businesses that discriminate, order a company to re-hire someone, or order financial compensation such as lost wages, among others remedies.

CORRECTION: The headline to this story has been updated to include LGBTQ. An earlier version mentioned only gay and transgender individuals.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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