one employee staring at anotherWhat happens in the workplace when employment decisions are made based on someone’s characteristics rather than their skill and ability? For instance, what happens when someone is fired simply because of the color of their skin?

Many feel that employees have no rights in Michigan because it is an “at-will” employment state. This means that, in most situations, employer or employee can terminate employment for any reason. What is not as widely known, however, is that there are protected classes in all 50 states and it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on these grounds.

All 50 states make it illegal for employers to discriminate based on the following:

One of the other protections prevents employers from discriminating against an employee due to a disability he or she may have or suffer while on the job. The state of Michigan carries these protections as well, meaning if an employer discriminates based on any of these classes, legal action may be available.

Discrimination comes in several forms, but the most common are refusing to hire someone, firing someone, or passing someone over for a position because of a characteristic rather than focusing on skill and ability.

If the employer makes employment decisions because of age, race, color of skin, sexuality, or any other protected class, they are acting in a discriminatory manner. The employee who is harmed by this may have legal recourse to take action against the employer.

At Fieger Law, we take all employment law matters seriously. We work to protect the rights of those who have been at the end of wrongful discrimination and hold employers accountable when necessary.