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MDCR Jurisdiction

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights enforces two state laws:


  • The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act #453, Public Acts of 1976, as amended.
  • The Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act #220, Public Acts 1976, as amended.

Because the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act covers some of the same jurisdictions as Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights is also authorized to take and investigate complaints under those acts through an agreement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). MDCR has a similar agreement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to accept HUD housing complaints under the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII, US Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended.

Discrimination is against the law.


The above laws prohibit discrimination in:

  • Employment
  • Public Accommodations
  • Public Service
  • Education
  • Housing (Owner-occupied one or two family dwellings are excluded. Does include financing and insurance.)


Because of:

  • Religion (Does not include religious accommodation in employment. However, complaints of denial of religious accommodation may be filed under Title VII, US Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.)
  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin (Includes the national origin of an ancestor.)
  • Age (Means chronological age, and there is no upper or lower age limit, except as otherwise provided by law. Under the education section, applies only to admissions.)
  • Sex (Includes sexual harassment and pregnancy or conditions related to pregnancy. Generally an employer must treat pregnancy like any other temporary disability.)
  • Height and Weight (Employment only)
  • Marital Status (Means the state of being married, single or divorced, and does not include a difference in treatment because of the identity of the spouse, as in anti-nepotism policies. Under the education section, it applies only to admissions.)
  • Familial Status (Means children under 18 living with parent or person having custody. Applies only to housing.)
  • Physical or Mental Disability (Not affecting the person's ability to do the job or benefit from a service, public accommodation, education or housing.)
  • Arrest Record (Regarding employment applications, this law prohibits an employer, employment agency or labor union from inquiring about arrest records that did not result in conviction, except felony arrests prior to dismissal or conviction.)
  • Retaliation (The law also prohibits retaliation against a person who has complained of discrimination.)


Statute of Limitation

Complaints must be filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights within 180 days following the alleged act of discrimination. Complaints more than 180 days that do not also fall under federal jurisdiction may be filed in State Court within three years. Complaints may be filed in State Court without first filing with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Complaints of discrimination covered by Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act occurring over 180 days but less than 300 days in the past may be filed at either agency but will be handled only by the EEOC.

Similarly, housing complaints alleging discrimination that occurred more than 180 days but less than 365 days in the past will be handled by HUD.


Case In Court

If a case is filed in court, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights lacks jurisdiction to pursue the matter. If the court does not rule on the merits, and there is no signed settlement agreement, MDCR may be asked to review the complaint within 30 days.