Q:  What is the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act? 

A:  The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) is Michigan’s version of the federal Civil Rights Act.

Under ELCRA, it’s illegal to subject people to differential treatment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status.  The ELCRA prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

Q:  Why does ELCRA need to be updated?

A:  Contrary to what an overwhelming majority of business owners and residents think, it is currently legal in Michigan to fire or refuse to hire someone because they are gay or lesbian. First, this is simply unfair.  Second, it is bad for business and bad for Michigan as we compete with other states for talented, well-educated and hard working employees to help drive Michigan’s economic comeback.

Q:  What do residents and job providers think about updating ELCRA?

A:  Research shows an overwhelming majority of Michigan residents support updating ELCRA, and many communities across Michigan have already acted to update their civil rights ordinances on this issue. In addition, surveys of small business owners show that a strong majority support striking this important balance.

As leaders in Michigan and leaders in business, updating ELCRA is the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do for our economy, and now is the right time to do it.

Q:  What is the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition and what is its goal?

A:  The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition is coalition of business leaders from Michigan companies, associations and chambers of commerce who have come together around the goal of working with public policy makers to update the ELCRA to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Q:  Why do business leaders care about this? 

A:  Together, our Michigan work ethic and our adherence to ideas of basic fairness and equality have been a cornerstone for our economy, creating jobs, opening opportunities, encouraging investment and supporting families.  Updating ELCRA to include the sexual orientation and gender identity of Michigan residents strengthens that cornerstone at the very time Michigan is pushing hardest toward economic recovery.

Put plainly, Michigan’s continued economic growth relies on keeping and attracting talented, hard working, determined people.  Updating ELCRA will help do that.

Rebuilding Michigan’s economy means building Michigan’s reputation as a state known for treating all people fairly, recognizing talent, rewarding hard work and a shared commitment to doing what it takes to strengthen our economy and attract jobs.
— Jim Murray, President of AT&T Michigan