The Michigan Department of Civil Rights

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has one of the most important roles in state government – so important that it is enshrined in the Michigan Constitution: to investigate alleged discrimination and to secure the equal protection of civil rights.   In 1964, Michigan became the first state in the nation to include civil rights protections in its constitution. Article 5, Section 29 calls on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to “...investigate alleged discrimination against any person because of race, religion, color or national origin in the enjoyment of the civil rights guaranteed by law…”  MDCR was created in 1965 to carry out the work of the Commission. Passage of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act in 1976 further clarified the specific protections guaranteed under Michigan law.

Enforce Civil Rights Laws
MDCR’s primary purpose is to investigate complaints of discrimination in employment, education, housing, public accommodation, law enforcement and public service.  The alleged discrimination must have taken place in the last 180 days and must be based on religion, race, color, national origin, arrest record, genetic information, sex, age, height, weight, marital status or disability. 

Prevent Discrimination
MDCR is committed to preventing discrimination and working to bridge gaps in understanding and trust. We engage with community and faith-based organizations, advocates and law enforcement agencies to address civil rights issues and build partnerships to promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. 

MDCR offers training on a range of topics including cultural competency, disability, sexual harassment, housing discrimination, hate crimes and civil rights law. We also partner with communities to examine racial and ethnic disparities and the role they play in Michigan’s economic and social environment. 

Serve Communities 
MDCR works to support diversity and inclusion, and to serve the needs of specific residents.


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