Overview of Workplace Discrimination

Learn about the different kinds of discrimination that can happen in the workplace and how you are protected under Massachusetts law.

Table of Contents


We enforce the anti-discrimination statutes of Massachusetts (MGL 151B) which protects you if are treated differently or unfairly or harassed at work based on your identity as a member of a protected class.

Age Discrimination

Federal law and Massachusetts law both prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees who are 40+ years old based on their age.

Learn more about Age Discrimination in the Workplace 

Criminal Records (CORI)

It is illegal for an employer to ask certain questions about a job applicant's or employee's criminal record. The CORI Reform Act prevents employers from seeking disclosure of job applicants' criminal record information prior to the interview stage of the hiring process.

Learn more about Criminal Record Discrimination in the Workplace→ 

Disability Discrimination

Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of disability. Qualified handicapped persons are entitled to reasonable accommodations, unless that accommodation presents an undue hardship to the employer.

Learn more about disability discrimination in the workplace 

Discrimination based on Genetics

The law prohibits that genetic information be used to a person's disadvantage in employment or when seeking employment. This includes the disclosure of genetic test results without the individual's consent, any requirement of genetic test results as a condition of employment or insurance, and discrimination by insurance companies based on genetic test results.

Learn more about Genetic Information in the Workplace→ 

Parental Leave and Pregnant Workers

The MA Parental Leave Act requires employers with six or more employees to provide no fewer than eight weeks of unpaid leave to employees for the birth or adoption of a child. This law is gender neutral: leave must be afforded to employees who request it, regardless of gender. 

Learn more about Parental Leave Law in Massachusetts→ 

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, effective April 1, 2018, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions. 

Learn more about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act→ 

Religious Discrimination and Accommodation

Religious discrimination involves treating an applicant or an employee unfavorably or differently based on his or her religious beliefs.

Individuals have the right to request a religious accommodation to a required religious observance or practice. This may include following or refraining from a certain practice based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Employees can inform their employers of such sincerely held religious beliefs or practices and request reasonable accommodations. Unless granting the request would cause undue hardship, the employer must provide reasonable accommodations. Examples include requesting a day off for a religious holiday or considerations for religious observations. An undue hardship could be the employee’s work had to be done that day and could not be performed by any other employee in their absence.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment in the workplace is illegal under the anti-discrimination laws of Massachusetts as a form of sex discrimination. Employees are entitled to a workplace free of harassment and hostility. 

Learn more about sexual harassment in the workplace → 



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