The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division enforces and safeguards Constitutional and statutory civil rights and liberties on behalf of Massachusetts residents and visitors. The Division works to end discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age and disability, and to ensure equal and meaningful opportunity to each Massachusetts resident to participate in a civic society in areas such as education, housing, employment, financial services, healthcare, transportation, voting and marriage. In addition, the Division works to protect individual rights of free speech and privacy.
The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division reviews and responds to civil rights complaints alleging deprivations of, or interference with, civil rights and civil liberties. The office may bring enforcement action, where appropriate, may mediate disputes, or may refer complainants to other resources. Through the Civil Rights Division, the AGO:
- Provides information to residents of, and visitors to, Massachusetts about civil rights and civil liberties, including answering questions from the public directly, making referrals to other organizations or government agencies, and offering information to assist residents in locating an attorney;
- Accepts and reviews complaints alleging violations of civil rights throughout the Commonwealth;
- Brings enforcement actions under state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, financial services, public education, and public accommodation on the basis of disability, race, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran or marital status, and receipt of public assistance;
- Enforces the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act by obtaining civil rights injunctions to protect victims of bias-motivated threats, intimidation, coercion and violence;
- Advocates for civil rights and civil liberties by reviewing policy and legislation and filing amicus briefs in civil rights cases; and
- Prosecutes housing discrimination cases under M.G.L. c. 151B when the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has made a finding of probable cause of discrimination and the case has been removed to Superior Court.