Discrimination Lawyers in Boston
Serving Clients Throughout Massachusetts
We provide expert representation in employment discrimination matters. State and federal law prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodation, housing, and other areas. The laws protect citizens from discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation (state law only), and certain other immutable characteristics.
Where Does Illegal Discrimination Take Place?
Most illegal discrimination today occurs in the workplace, but it can also occur in the treatment of customers by stores, in the manner by which landlords and owners lease and sell property, and in the way police and other government officials enforce the law, as a few examples.
Massachusetts and federal law protect employees from discriminatory treatment. Even if you are employed at-will, your employer cannot treat you differently due to your race, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, and certain other protected classifications. As Boston discrimination lawyers, we represent employees in seeking to hold employers liable for their wrongful conduct to the fullest extent of the law.
We represent employees subjected to illegal workplace treatment as the result of:
- Sexual Harassment and Illegal Hostile Workplaces
- Age Discrimination
- Gender Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation / LGBTQ Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Accommodation
- Retaliation & Whistleblowing
In certain instances, we also represent those who have been subjected to Housing or Public Accommodation Discrimination.
What Laws Protect Workers from Discrimination?
In Massachusetts, current and prospective workers are protected from discriminatory employment actions under federal and state law. Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, and national origin. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees over the age of 40 from discrimination on the basis of their age. The American with Disabilities Act protects private employees from discrimination on the basis of a disability, and the Rehabilitation Act provides similar protection for public employees.
Under Massachusetts law, Massachusetts law, Chapter 151B provides even broader coverage, protecting employees from discrimination on the basis race, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability, gender identity, veteran status, and sexual orientation. These laws protect current and prospective employees from any discriminatory action that causes harm, from involuntary reassignments to terminations.
Other laws also offer protections, such as the laws that protect pregnant workers.
Additionally, employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who raises a complaint of discrimination or any unlawful employment action. You have the legal right to raise such concerns without the fear or reprisal, and if you’re fired, or if the other conditions of your work are materially and detrimentally changed, you have rights under the law.
How Federal and Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination Laws Work Together
Federal and Massachusetts laws sometimes overlap in prohibiting the same types of discrimination. As a result, in some cases, employees subjected to discrimination will have the option of moving forward with claims in federal court or in the courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In such situations, there may be advantages of pursuing a case in one court versus the other. There will also be certain pre-filing conditions that may be required, such as requirements to first file a claim with the EEOC or Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the receipt of what is known as a “right to sue” letter.
When representing clients who have been subjected to discrimination, we will advise of the opportunities available pursuing claims in different forums.
Does the Law Protect Against All Discrimination at Work?
Unless a worker is in one of the classifications specifically protected under the law, or unless the worker is engaging in conduct protected under the law (such as whistleblowing or filing a worker’s compensation claim), there is no protection against discrimination or termination based upon other statuses or conduct.
As an example, suppose your employer is a die-hard Red Sox fan, and one day finds out that you are a Yankees fan. She decides that her workplace must be free of Yankees fans, so she fires you – is this illegal? No, because your status of being a Yankees fan is not a protected class under the law.
She could also refuse to hire you for being a Yankees fan, or even discriminate against you at work by not giving you the best clients to work with because you are a Yankees fan.
What if you are a Yankees fan and are also an older worker, or perhaps a pregnant woman – do you have a case for discrimination?
The key will be to determine the motivation behind the discrimination. If it was simply because your boss does not like Yankee fans, then you likely would not have a case. However, if evidence shows that your boss wanted you to quit because she wanted to replace you with a younger worker or she didn’t want you to take maternity leave, then there would be a case for discrimination.
We Help Workers Subjected to Discrimination Understand Their Rights and Options for Compensation and Pursuing Discrimination Claims.
We invite you to call us to tell us about your case so we can determine if we can help and describe the options that may be available.