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Director: Michiganders Can File Sexual Harassment Complaints with Dept. of Civil Rights

Facebook page of Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights
Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights Director Dr. Agustin Arbulu

The state department of Civil Rights wants you to know that it is a resource for filing sexual harassment claims. Director Dr. Agustin Arbulu spoke on "Morning Edition with Brooke Allen" on Thursday.  

"What I always say to people, 'don't doubt yourself," said Dr. Agustin Arbulu, director of the Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights. "Or if you doubt yourself, call the department."

Arbulu said the state averages 85 sexual harassment complaints a year. He said a good percentage are settled or solved.

Click on this sentence for a link to file a claim.

Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights: 800.482.3604 to file a complaint

"The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act specifically addresses sexual harassment," said Arbulu.  

Arbulu said the act addresses sexual harassment in the following cases: education, employment, housing, public service (law enforcement)  and public accommodation. 

For example in education, a professor that adjusts grades in exchange for sexual favors.

"Every situation is quite different and we encourage people that they call the Michigan Department of Civil Rights," said Arbulu. "So we can talk to you, walk you through it, tell you what your options are and then determine what your best course of action is."

Arbulu said MDCR has jurisdiction over complaints if they're filed within 180 days of when the incident occurred. The complaint also has to be notarized.

He said all calls are answered by a person. 

"Surveys after surveys reveal that women in general, about 70 percent, do not report complaints," said Arbulu. "I think that men overall have a blindspot. They act in a certain way, are not aware, and they need to be re-educated about how they are acting forward a female."

Arbulu said MDCR also provides anti-sexual harassment training for workplaces.

"It's important for all people to feel safe in the environment that they're in," said Arbulu.

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