Employment Law and Civil Rights Claims

There are a number of state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment in the workplace. These laws include:

1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal law that prohibits harassment and discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion. This statute covers employers with 15 or more employees (as defined in the statute).

2. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This is a federal statute that covers employers with 20 or more employees and prohibits discrimination against any employee who is more than 39 years old.

3. The Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a federal law that applies to businesses with 15 or more employees. It prohibits employers from discriminating against disabled employees. Disabled employees are those who meet this statute's definition of "qualified employees with a disability."

4. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Under this amendment, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. Women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.

5. The Equal Pay Act. This federal law makes it illegal to pay male and female workers differently for equal work that is performed on jobs of equal skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions in the same workplace. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, not job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal. This statute applies to any employer that has one or more employees.

6. The Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. This state statute applies to employers with one or more employees and prohibits discrimination based on sex, marital status, familial status, height, weight and age. Under this law, the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex specifically includes sexual harassment.

7. The Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. This Michigan statute applies to an employer with one or more employee and prohibits discrimination against an individual based on their disability. In essence, under this law an employer is prohibited from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee because of a disability that is unrelated to that employee's ability to perform the duties of required in a particular job or position.

It's important to remember that these laws not only ban intentional discrimination, but also discrimination that arises because of disparate treatment of certain employees as well as the disparate impact that certain actions may have on a legally protected class of employees.

If you believe that you have been the victim of illegal discrimination or harassment at work, you should promptly contact a lawyer so that you can be properly advised about your rights and possible remedies.

Please feel free to contact Michigan employment law attorney Michael J. Hamblin for more information on how he can help you with your legal needs.

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