Members of the LGBTQ community in Michigan know all too well that they face harassment and discrimination on the job more than many other people. Fortunately, recent court rulings and legal interpretations have extended protections for LGBTQ workers against workplace discrimination.
Those measures will be further reinforced through codification, meaning future state politicians cannot revoke or remove these protections.
What this means for workers
Employees already have protection against discrimination and adverse treatment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. However, the anti-discrimination laws will now be organized into a formal systematic code, providing stronger protection for LGBTQ workers.
Without codification, jurisdictions could make inconsistent, duplicative or contradictory regulations. Not only does this create confusion, but it leaves room for businesses to discriminate against workers lawfully.
Supporters say this is an historic move and a direct way of extending protections to all workers. However, critics of the move say it strips business owners and employers of their rights – particularly religious individuals and organizations.
Discrimination and LGBTQ workers
Employees in the LGBTQ community have long faced unfair treatment in the workplace. For instance, they might deal with:
- Receiving lower pay
- Being denied promotions or job offers
- Experiencing sexual harassment
- Being assigned less desirable schedules or roles
- Being asked to change clothes, physical appearance or speech
- Exclusion from employee events
Thankfully, there is less and less space for these and other discriminatory actions as legislative measures continue to change and evolve.
Unfortunately, it still happens. When it does, employees who experience adverse treatment because of who they are should know their options. In some cases, professional, financial and legal remedies can be available to compensate workers and correct any wrongdoing.