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Michigan: New Protections Against Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

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Effective June 14, 2023, Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) protections against discrimination will expand to prohibit employment discrimination—by an employer with one or more employees­—based on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Under the amended act, these newly added protected classes are defined as below:

  • Gender identity or expression is having or being perceived as having a gender-related self-identity or expression whether or not it’s associated with an individual’s assigned sex at birth; and

  • Sexual orientation is having an orientation for heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality, or having a history of such an orientation or being identified with such an orientation.

With these expanded protections, the ELCRA will prohibit employers from discriminating against an individual because of their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, height, weight, or marital status. Importantly, these protections apply to any part of employment, including hiring, pay, and its terms and conditions. For instance, employers cannot ask an applicant about, or require that they disclose on an application, their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, height, weight, or marital status.


More about the amended act and its enforcement is available from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

(2023 MI SB 4 was signed by the governor on March 16, 2023)

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