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DEI Resources

Focused DEI Resources for Small Businesses

To enhance your ability to run a successful small business, SBAM has put together a variety of resources regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Our goal is to give you the necessary tools to be compliant, and foster healthy work environments. Fostering entrepreneurship and growth of small business is paramount to thriving communities across our state.

Related News & Articles

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Taking a More Inclusive Approach to Paid Holidays

Paid holidays aren’t just about giving your employees some time off. It can also be about giving employees support and flexibility.

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EEOC Publishes Guidance for Working with Hard of Hearing and Deaf Employees and Applicants

“Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” explains how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees who are deaf or hard of hearing or have other hearing conditions.

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There are several laws that apply to employment in Michigan to which small business owners must adhere.

Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in Michigan on the basis of “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, familial status, or marital status” in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations. Here’s what small business owners need to know.

SBAM supports enshrinement into statute of the existing Supreme Court interpretation of the Elliott Larson Civil Rights Act.

Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability. Covered employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

Be sure you have your employee handbooks updated accordingly.

Crown Act/Hair Discrimination

CROWN stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.  Efforts to pass the CROWN Act at the state and federal level were successful in June 2023 and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act will be amended to add to the definition of “race,” hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks and twists.





A recent U.S. Federal 11th Circuit case upended the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance as to disability and accommodations.  Under the guidance, an employee merely has a functional rather than a medical definition of disability, and the determination of whether an individual has a disability doesn’t necessarily hinge on the name or diagnosis of an impairment. Once an employer is on notice, they must engage in an interactive discussion concerning any accommodations.  Eventually it is the employer’s decision as to what the accommodation is.

New Approach to ADA Accommodations


Ageism is alive and well and running rampant. In a recent survey by the AARP, nearly 80% of older employees say they’ve seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

With a youth obsessed society, as employees age, they may be ignored or marginalized, thinking that they don’t have the skills that younger workers have.  These workers also wouldn’t likely be included in succession planning simply because the talent tree focuses on younger workers over a longer period of time.  This situation is fairly common, especially in the IT sector.

Avoid Ageism

Conscious Inclusion

Inclusion begins with recognition that we are all from diverse backgrounds. This includes how and when we celebrate holidays. In order to be inclusive, it’s time to think beyond the Christian holiday schedule.

Words matter. Curious about certain terminology – and whether or not using certain words or phrases is appropriate?  Use these guides to choose authentic, inclusive language.

Small Business Perspective:

Taking a More Inclusive Approach to Paid Holidays


Workforce Solutions for Individuals with Disabilities

Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) is a statewide network of vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals developing creative, customized solutions that meet the needs of individuals and business.

Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) partners with businesses in many ways to:

  • Recruit, maintain, and retrain qualified individuals to save time and money.
  • Assist to engage in the interactive process to provide reasonable accommodations for employees to disabilities.
  • Create a truly inclusive workplace culture.
MRS Resources

Member Resources

Ask An Expert

SBAM’s Premium, VIP and Elite members have access to our complimentary Ask An Expert service. Our HR and legal partners are on call to help you navigate the ins and outs of both simple and complex matters.

It’s easy to directly ask a question to an ASE representative through SBAM’s “Ask a Question” web portal. A fact-based answer will be provided to you – completely free of charge.

Ask An Expert

Employee Handbook Creation

An employee handbook not only introduces your company and its employment and business philosophy to your employees, but is also an effective communication tool that provides information on company policies, procedures, and compensation programs.

An SBAM Premium, VIP or Elite member can receive a discount from the American Society of Employers (ASE) on the cost to review or update an existing document, or developing a complete, customized employee handbook.

Employee Handbooks


According to the CDC, there are about 1 in 4 people in the U.S. or 61 million Americans that have some kind of physical or mental disability.

Hiring individuals with disabilities and responding to their needs creates an environment of trust, productivity, and retention. The 7th Annual MI Hidden Talent Workshop was held on March 21, 2023, featuring a keynote speaker, breakout sessions and inclusion spotlights. The link below offers video replay of the three main sessions.

2023 Event Recap

When DEI Violates EEO Law

In Lutz v. Liquidity Services, Inc., No. PWG-21-1229 (United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division, 12/12/22), a vice president of human resources is suing his former employer. According to the VP, the CEO/chairman of the board said to him, “Mike, I want you to retire. I have a diversity problem. I need to improve the diversity profile of the company. And I need to promote Novelette [Murray] into your job.” (Fyi, Novelette is an African-American woman, and the company’s leadership at that time was all white men). The VP’s retirement was announced with kudos for his accomplishments, but then (oddly) he was terminated “without cause,” although the company is now stating that it was for performance issues.  The case was allowed to continue to trial.  Lesson learned? Taking negative employment actions against a non-minority employee in order to create opportunities for minority employees is still a violation of discrimination laws, even if done in the name of diversity.