Ask the Director 4-11

I am not a Catholic, but I am interested in applying for a position with a Catholic school.  The school has an advertisement for a teaching position, but the advertisement says I must be Catholic to apply.   Is this legal?

An employer may be able to advertise for an employee of a particular sex, religion, national origin, height, weight, marital status, or age if it is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the business. This is called a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ).  For example, an employer might be able to advertise for a “female attendant for a ladies’ restroom.”  Please note that BFOQ’s are not available based on race or color.  If your organization believes you have a basis for obtaining a bona fide occupational qualification, please contact MDCR.

I am visually impaired and use a seeing-eye dog. I was looking for an apartment, and found one in a building that was close to my school and workplace.  I was told that I could not rent there because there was a strict “no pets allowed” policy.  I feel they should have made an exception for me in this case.

Michigan’s fair housing laws make it unlawful to deny you housing because you are disabled. You are entitled to a reasonable accommodation from your landlord if you are disabled and in need of an accommodation to provide an equal opportunity to use and enjoy your property. Some examples of accommodations include structural modifications such as changing door knobs to more easily turned door handles, and exceptions to rules or policies such as allowing a service animal in a no-pet complex.  

I recently applied for a job. The employer contacted me to schedule an interview and was very friendly, but when I got there, she told me the position had been filled that morning. After a week, I still see advertisements for the job. I believe I was discriminated against because of my race. What do I do?

If the alleged act of discrimination has occurred within the past 180 days you can file a complaint at any of the regional offices of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.  If you believe you were unlawfully discriminated against beyond the 180 day period, and the allegation relates to a continuing violation, you may be able to include those charges in your complaint as well. Department staff is available in these offices to answer any questions concerning the protections guaranteed by law. Most regional offices are staffed with both English and Spanish speaking personnel and Arabic language translations can be made available when necessary.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights investigates claims of discrimination and works to educate the public on civil rights issues. Send questions to MDCR-INFO@michigan.gov