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Michigan Takes Important Step to Improve Inclusivity at Work

March 23, 2023

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE

Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). The bill reaffirms legal protections for sexual orientation and expands coverage to include gender identity and expression.

“Today, we are taking a long overdue step to ensure that no one can be fired from their job or evicted from their home because of who they are or how they identify,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and neighbors deserve equal protection under the law so they can live their authentic lives, and I want everyone to know that Michigan is a place that will fight for your freedom to be yourself. Guaranteeing equal legal protections to LGBTQ+ Michiganders is the right thing to do. It’s also just good economics, which is why business groups from across our state stand with us. Getting this done will help attract and retain talent from across the nation, and I am proud that Michigan today is more free and fair than it was yesterday.”

This new bill offers important protections and psychological safety for workers resulting in improved employee retention within this community.

According to research by myGwork, over two-thirds (66%) of LGBTQ+ Gen Z would leave their job if they couldn’t be out at work.

The findings clearly show that being out at work is important for the majority of Generation Z (72%), with more than half saying indicating it’s highly/extremely important for them to be working with pride. Additionally, around 9 out of 10 students/graduates would be more inclined to be out at work from day one if they knew their employer was truly committed to inclusion.

The research highlighted that discrimination is still rife in the workplace. Around 6 out of 10 Gen Z said they have been discriminated against in their place of work/study. It’s no wonder the majority of LGBTQ+ students and graduates (93%) wished they knew more about whether an employer was LGBTQ+ inclusive or not.

One way that LGBTQ+ professionals and graduates can land their dream role where they can be their authentic selves and work with pride is by applying for jobs with inclusive companies. Around three-quarters said they knew how to find out how LGBTQ+-inclusive an organization is. The top sources of finding out more about a company’s LGBTQ+ credentials include myGwork (27%) and the company’s website (23%), followed by LinkedIn (21%), and Google (20%).

What signs are Gen Z looking for to see how LGBTQ+-friendly an organization is? Top signs that demonstrate how inclusive a company is for today’s LGBTQ+ Gen Z include:

  • Inclusive policies (e.g. trans-inclusive health insurance): 26%
  • Visible role models: 22%
  • Recognizing diversity days/periods: 21%
  • Visibility in offices year-round (e.g. pronouns in emails, non-gendered restrooms): 16%
  • Employee resource groups: 12%


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