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Michigan Expands Non-Discrimination Law

16 Aug

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Update Applicable to:

All employers conducting business in Michigan

What happened?

Michigan has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 147), amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s termination of a pregnancy.

What are the details?

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, generally speaking, prohibits discriminatory practices, policies, and customs based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status [having children], or marital status. These are often called “protected categories” with reference to the act. The act is enforced by private lawsuits and by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC), which through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights investigates and acts on discrimination complaints.

Due to the amendment, the act now specifically excludes a “nontherapeutic abortion not intended to save the life of the mother” from the medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth that are included in the definition of sex for purposes of Article 2. The bill would remove this exception and instead add “termination of a pregnancy” to conditions included in the term sex.

The bill also would prohibit an employer from treating an employee affected by the termination of a pregnancy differently, for employment purposes, from another employee who has a similar ability or inability to work but is not affected by the termination of a pregnancy. The act now specifically excludes a “nontherapeutic abortion not intended to save the life of the mother” from the medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth that are protected from different treatment as described above. The bill would remove this exception.

The law takes effect on the 91st day after adjournment of the state legislature. The legislature is expected to adjourn in late December 2023.

For more information, please see the links below:

Official Bill Site

Bill SB 147

Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Article

What do employers need to do?

Michigan employers should review and update their policies, employee handbooks, and procedures to ensure compliance with the updated law.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Michigan PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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