Support for Updates to State Civil Rights Act Continues to Grow
Michigan’s business leaders renewed their call for updates to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) today, as the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce joined with the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition. The coalition backs the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity protections under Michigan law.
“Mid-Michigan business leaders recognize and embrace the need for ensuring equal protection for all,” said Tim Daman, President and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber. “As we collaborate to grow our region’s economy, we need to send a strong message that Michigan is a welcoming state that invites and develops the very finest talent. Updating Elliott-Larsen helps do that.”
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce has been helping mid-Michigan businesses connect, grow and succeed for more than 110 years. The Chamber represents more than 1,100 area job providers, with more than 80 percent of those members being small businesses with less than 15 employees.
Under ELCRA, it is currently illegal to subject people to differential treatment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status, and employers are prohibited from discriminating in hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or employment privileges. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included under the ELCRA, however, and many Michigan job providers see this as a barrier to attracting new skilled workers to the state’s economy.
“This is a supply and demand question, pure and simple,” said Jim Murray, one of the coalition co-chairs and president of AT&T Michigan. “Today’s workers expect equal protections for all, and it’s time our state was assertive in ensuring those protections are provided. These changes are a building block in Michigan’s ongoing economic recovery.”
Research shows 75 percent of Michigan residents support updates to the ELCRA, and many communities have already acted to update their local civil rights ordinances on this issue. Surveys of small business owners across the state also show strong support for bringing Michigan’s civil rights laws up to date.
The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition was announced in early May and its current membership includes:
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Chrysler Group LLC
Clark Hill PLC
Detroit Regional Chamber
The Dow Chemical Company
Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance
Henry Ford Health System
Irwin Seating Company
Issue Media Group
Macomb County Chamber of Commerce
The Michigan Theater
Professional Property Management
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
Slow’s Bar BQ
Southwest Michigan First
Strategic Staffing Solutions