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Employment Law

Michigan’s new cyberbullying law goes into effect March 27

On December 27, 2018, Governor Snyder signed Public Act 457 into law to prohibit cyberbullying in the State of Michigan. Effective March 27, 2019, cyberbullying is now a crime under Michigan law.

According to this newly enacted law, one instance of cyberbullying subjects a bully to misdemeanor charges, punishable by imprisonment for up to 93 days and/or a fine of no more than $500.00. Having more than one violation will subject the bully to imprisonment for up to 1 year or $1,000, or both.

Additionally, a person who continuously bullies an individual, creating a pattern of harassing or intimidating behavior, and that behavior is the cause of serious injury to the victim, is subject to felony charges punishable by imprisonment of 5 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

However, if a bully violates the statute in a continued pattern or harassment or intimidating behavior that leads to the death of the victim, the bully is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

These patterns of offenses require a showing of two or more instances of noncontinuous acts which amount to harassing or intimidating behavior. According to the law, a “cyberbully” is a person who posts a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person if both the following apply:

  • It was posted with the intent to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and it expresses an intent to commit violence against them,
  • The message or statement is posted with intent to communicate a threat and it is known that the message will be viewed as a threat.

For any questions, please contact:
Randal R. Cole, Labor and Employment Defense Attorney
(248) 642-3025 | Rcole@dmms.com

A special thank you to law clerk, Kathryn Kaleth for contributing to this article.