All people in Massachusetts are protected against unlawful discrimination by federal and state laws. If you believe you have been discriminated against, you may file a complaint with the MCAD by following the instructions below. Once you file a complaint, you will meet with an MCAD Intake Officer to determine if the agency can investigate your case. If the MCAD can accept the complaint, the Commission will launch an investigation in order to make a determination whether there is probable cause that unlawful discrimination occurred.
In all but a few cases, the MCAD has a 300-day statutory filing deadline. This means that you only have 300 days from the last discriminatory act to file a claim with the MCAD. Cases involving applying to schools only have a six month statutory filing deadline.
Should I File a Complaint?
If you are unsure if you experienced unlawful discrimination, come in and meet with a staff person who will discuss this with you and help you decide whether or not to file. If you ultimately decide to file a complaint, one of our intake worker will explain to you what kind of evidence you will need to prove that discrimination occurred.
Persons with a disability who are unable to file a complaint in person may contact any of our offices to make alternative filing arrangement.
Instructions on How To File a Complaint
A person who believes they were discriminated against (referred to as "the Complainant") and who wants to file a complaint with the MCAD, may do in person in any of our four locations: Boston, Springfield, Worcester, or New Bedford. No appointment is necessary. Filing is on a first come first served basis. Persons with a disability who are unable to file a complaint in person may contact any of our offices to make alternative filing arrangement.
Upon arriving at the MCAD, you will fill out an intake interview form and then meet with an Intake Officer to discuss what happened to you. This is a private consultation called the "Intake Interview," which is the next step in the Complaint Process.
Filing a complaint and participating in the intake interview may take up to 2.5 hours. Please plan accordingly when deciding when to file your complaint.
Filing By Mail
The MCAD accepts complaints by mail as long as they comply with MCAD regulatory requirements for filing a complaint; however, we have found that an in-person meeting with an intake officer produces the most thorough information gathering.
If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney may mail in a complaint accompanied by a self-stamped envelope.
You must include the following information for your complaint to be complete:
- A simple narrative of what occurred.
- Identify similarly-situated co-workers or individuals who were treated differently.
- Be specific as to dates and events.
- Include any documentation that you believe supports your complaint.
- Sign and Date your complaint.
Filing By Phone
The MCAD generally requires the in-person consultation for intake. However, persons with a disability who are unable to file a complaint in person may contact any of our offices to make alternative filing arrangements.