The Volokh Conspiracy

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Michigan Employees May Not Advertise Availability by Mentioning Religion, Race, Sex, etc., or …

by expressing preference for an employer's characteristics.


Here's an unusual Michigan statute that applies to employees as well as employers, and that I just stumbled across; it was enacted in 1976:

An individual seeking employment shall not publish or cause to be published a notice or advertisement that specifies or indicates the individual's religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status, or expresses a preference, specification, limitation, or discrimination as to the religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, sex, or marital status of a prospective employer.

One exception to the law that I found might cover, for instance, people advertising as to their "bona fide occupational qualifications," such as for actors, but it would require a special application to the Michigan civil rights commission:

A person subject to this article may apply to the commission for an exemption on the basis that religion, national origin, age, height, weight, or sex is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business or enterprise. Upon sufficient showing, the commission may grant an exemption to the appropriate section of this article.

Another exception seems to exempt "adopt[ing] and carry[ing] out a plan to eliminate present effects of past discriminatory practices or assure equal opportunity with respect to religion, race, color, national origin, or sex if the plan is filed with the commission under rules of the commission and the commission approves the plan." An employee who wants to promote himself on such a basis would presumably have to file a "plan" with the commission as part of his self-promotional efforts—but it's hard to see what exactly that would look like for an individual employee. (This exemption appears to be targeted to employer plans, but I suppose an employee might file such a plan as well.)