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June 10, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reaffirming her commitment to fighting for inclusive treatment for all Michigan residents with a new, department-wide transgender policy.
One of the policy's purposes is to address the needs of transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming employees of the Department by clarifying how the law should be implemented in situations where questions may arise about how to protect the legal rights or safety of all employees.
The policy also strengthens the expectation that employees of the Department will not just treat colleagues with dignity and support, but will treat all transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming individuals who interact with the Department with the same respect.
For instance, the guidelines of the policy note specifically:
- Employees will conduct themselves professionally and courteously when interacting with fellow employees, as well as members of the public, client agencies, opposing counsel and their clients, pro per litigants, etc., and shall follow this policy when interacting with all transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals while performing their work duties.
- Supervisors will ensure that this policy is adhered to by all employees. They will set the standard for courtesy and provide a model for their subordinates to follow.
"I wanted to enact this policy as a reminder that allowing all individuals to be their authentic selves is encouraged and supported at the Michigan Department of Attorney General and to reinforce that discrimination will not be tolerated-in the office or while representing those we fight for in court and beyond," Nessel said. "It is my hope other agencies and offices across this great state will use this policy as an example of the work that can be done proactively to create an environment where all individuals feel respected, welcomed and appreciated. We, as Michigan residents, have the power to enact our own change through purposeful and thoughtful action."
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The Department's Transgender Policy also acknowledges those who may transition on the job. Employees receiving treatment as part of their transition may use sick leave under applicable employer regulations.
Julisa Abad, Director of Transgender Advocacy and Outreach for Fair Michigan, and Erin Knott, Executive Director of Equality Michigan, offered statements in response to the policy being enacted.
"Fair Michigan commends AG Nessel for making this important policy change that confers dignity and respect to transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming Michiganders," Abad said. "Our experience shows that these policies have a real impact in increasing trust and cooperation between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement agencies. The LGBTQ community can rest assured that we have a true champion for equality on our side in our Attorney General."
"Attorney General Nessel recognizes the gap that remains between the daily experiences of transgender, nonbinary, and gender fluid workers and their desired workplace culture. This new policy will ensure workers feel respected and valued, and that the general public feels welcomed and safe when interacting with the Michigan Department of Attorney General," Knott said. "Equality Michigan applauds Attorney General Nessel for her continued efforts to fight discrimination and we hope her efforts serve as a model for other agencies and departments to adopt."
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The full policy can be read on the Department's website.
A video from Nessel discussing the new policy is available online as well.
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