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Michigan’s Expanded Anti-Discrimination Protections are in Effect

Effective February 13, 2024, Michigan’s anti-discrimination law extends protections to employees and applicants on reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights. This expanded legislation applies to employers of all sizes, aiming to foster an inclusive and equitable work environment. 

The first notable change is the expansion of the definition of “sex” to include all terminations of pregnancy and related medical conditions. Previously, the definition of sex excluded abortions that were not intended to save the mother’s life. This update ensures that employees are protected from any form of discrimination based on their reproductive health choices and related medical conditions. 

Additionally, Michigan has now included sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as protected categories under the state’s anti-discrimination statute. 

Next Steps 

Employers should review and update their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy and Non-Harassment/Non-Discrimination policies to incorporate protections based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Employers should also consider reviewing and updating training materials and the content of any equal employment opportunity, non-harassment or non-discrimination training to include information and examples of prohibited harassment or discrimination related to sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. 

Additionally, it may be a suitable time to review and update any dress code/personal appearance policies to ensure they are gender-neutral and broad enough so employees of any gender feel comfortable physically presenting themselves in the workplace. 

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.