How Do You File a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit in Michigan?

How Do You File a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit in Michigan?
March 7, 2016 Erika

Many people do not realize that if you are the victim of racial discrimination you cannot simply hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit in Federal Court the following day. Filing a Federal lawsuit for racial discrimination is more complicated than other civil injury claims, such as car accidents or assault. Largely, this stems from the fact that your right to be free from racial discrimination derives exclusively from Federal Laws that require a potential plaintiff completes mandatory time taking administrative steps prior to becoming a litigant in Federal Court.

Discrimination Laws

As a Michigan citizen, you are probably protected against most acts of racial discrimination by both Federal Law and Michigan State Law. Federal Title VII commonly known as The Civil Rights Act of 1964, has made it illegal throughout the United States for employers to discriminate against employees based upon race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act is the State of Michigan’s version of the above Federal Law and prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, weight, height, marital status and arrest record.

You can bring a discrimination lawsuit in either State or Federal Courts. However, in order to bring your claim to Federal Court the employer you are complaining of must exceed Fourteen employees, and you must first: “exhaust all administrative remedies”. This is a legal principle that requires a potential plaintiff to bring and explain his or her claim before an administrator prior to being permitted to litigate in State or Federal Court. In the case of federal race discrimination, a claimant must proceed initially before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Hereinafter: “EEOC”) The EEOC Administrative officer evaluates and screens the claim in order to determine that it meets the minimum legal requirements. An EEOC issued “Notice of Right to Sue” letter is required before any Title VII Civil Rights Race Discrimination litigation in Federal Court can begin.

Michigan Law

The Michigan Civil Rights Act anti-discrimination law has no employer minimum size requirement and does not require that a litigant exhaust his or her administrative remedies prior to filing in state court. Similar to the EEOC, Michigan also has a state administrative agency, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, (MDCR) that may aid you in resolving your discrimination claim without the assistance of an attorney. Numerous MDCR offices exist throughout the state and more information can be found at

Strict time limits exist for the filing of a discrimination claim. These deadlines are called ‘statutes of limitations”. A claim must be filed with the MDCR within 180 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act, and within 300 days for the EEOC. A plaintiff has three (3) years from the date of discrimination to file a lawsuit in Michigan state court, and 90 days from the receipt of an EEOC Right to Sue letter in which to file a complaint in Federal Court.

Contact the Attorneys at Tishkoff PLC

If you feel like you may be the victim of race-related discrimination you should schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys without delay. The team of experienced legal professionals at Tishkoff PLC are here to help. Contact us online or call our office today.
Toll Free: 1 (855) TISH-LAW.