Michigan's civil rights law now includes LGBT protections

The state Civil Rights Commission broadens its interpretation of "sex discrimination."

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted on Monday to interpret the state's civil rights statute, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, to include LGBT protections.

The statute prohibits discrimination based on, among other things, "sex." According to the Commission, "sex" will now be interpreted to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The Commission's interpretation was reportedly inspired by a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which I have covered extensively on this blog, finding that gender identity discrimination is a form of "sex discrimination" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The vote was 5-0, but one Commissioner abstained and two others were absent. The Commission began accepting LGBT discrimination complaints on Tuesday, May 22.

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, 1876 map of Michigan by Marty Hogan.

Robin Shea has more than 20 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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