Civil rights laws remain in effect during COVID-19 crisis

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Civil Rights recently cautioned all Michigan healthcare providers, businesses, law enforcement agencies and others that civil rights laws, including the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, remain in full effect during the public health crisis created by COVID-19.

“We commend Gov. Whitmer for her steadfast commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Michiganders during this public health crisis,” said Mary Engelman, interim director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “The executive order the governor signed today is clear: we cannot allow the fight against COVID-19 to be an excuse for undermining the hard-won protections provided in state and federal civil rights law.”

“We remind all Michigan residents that the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act provides that business establishments and public facilities, including medical clinics and hospitals, may not deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations because of a disability,” said Engelman.  “If you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination during this crisis, you have the right to file a complaint with the Department of Civil Rights, and we stand ready to investigate your complaints.”

Individuals who wish to file a complaint of discrimination may contact the Department through the online complaint form, by phone at 1 (800) 482-3604, or by sending an email to MDCR-INFO@michigan.gov.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws.  It also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law.  For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to michigan.gov/mdcr.

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