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Published 5/3/2020
3:35am

Michigan Department of Civil Rights: Civil Rights Laws Remain in Effect During COVID-19 Crisis

Governor Commended on Commitment to Protecting Civil Rights

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

“We commend Governor 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.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. 

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Update 4/26/2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is now a Saturday Night Live character, after a skit aired on April 25th depicting Michigan's leader delivering a satirical message to the state's residents about staying safe during the state's Coronavirus lockdown.

The body of a six-year-old was found on Friday April 24th in the Huron River.  The boy, along with his father, disappeared during a fishing trip on March 29th.

A man was rescued after his kayak capsized in West Michigan.  It happened Saturday morning, April 25th, at Fennessy Lake, in West Michigan.  The 42 year old man was treated for hypothermia.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Andrea Acevedo says she is concerned some nursing homes in Michigan are choosing not to report COVID-19 deaths to employees and the public putting more lives in danger.  The union represents more than 5,000 nursing home workers.

A Grand Haven church is among others in the state to offer a drive-in service as Michigan's stay-at-home order remains in place.  Trinity Reformed Church invited drivers to park in the church's lot on Sunday morning at 10am but required attendees to keep windows up and continue to social distance.

A Republican Michigan lawmaker is apologizing after wearing a face mask in session in Lansing on Friday, April 24th that resembled the Confederate flag.  State Senator Dale Zorn said the mask's design was not a Confederate flag but apologized for his choice of pattern.

Mid-Michigan TV stations will host a town hall with Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday April 30th.  The event will originate at the ABC 12 studios in Flint and will be carried on that station, along with WNEM-TV 5, NBC 25 and FOX 66, from 7 to 8pm.

A person suspected of breaking into vehicles in Gaylord over the weekend has been arrested. Authorities say there may be more victims than those currently known.