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Michigan proposal worries anti-discrimination advocates

Legal protections for Oakland County workers are decided at the federal, state and local levels. Federal employment laws are often expanded by states and further broadened by local governments. recently reported proposed Michigan legislation would bar local lawmakers from using employment rules that are more generous than state and federal laws.

Advocacy groups like Michigan United fear HB 4052 could erase legal progress for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. More than three dozen communities in Michigan provide safeguards against employment discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identification, but state laws offer no such anti-discrimination assurances. A director with Equality Michigan estimated two million state residents could lose protections with passage of the bill.

LGBT employees aren't the only workers who could suffer from a state law change. Local laws impacting employment, like rules favoring above-standard minimum wages or sick leave guidelines, could be cast aside. The minimum wage in Michigan is $8.15 per hour and will increase to $9.25 in 2018 – significantly higher rates than the current federal hourly standard of $7.25.

Several versions of the employment proposal were considered by the state House Commerce and Trade Committee before a final bill was drafted. The Republican author of the measure said the legislation was reworked to ensure local LGBT protections in 37 municipalities statewide would not be dismantled. The proposal, dubbed the "Death Star bill" by Michigan United, must receive approval from the state legislature and the governor before it can be enacted.

Troy workers who believe their employers have violated local, state or federal employments rules often aren't certain how or where to file a complaint. With so many employment laws at so many levels, it's also not uncommon for employees to be uncertain whether any rules were violated. An employment attorney can help clear up concerns about workplace violations and assist workers with filing complaints and legal actions.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Michigan Bill Aims To Wipe Out Local LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws," Daniel Marans, May. 13, 2015

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