What is Discrimination Under Federal and Massachusetts Discrimination Laws?
Any time you are treated differently than other people in your workplace, you may wonder if it is discrimination. What you need to know is that at will employment (Massachusetts law) allows employers to treat people differently as long as it is not based on discrimination.
Massachusetts discrimination laws protect specific groups of people, called "protected classes." Your employer cannot discriminate against you based on your sex, race, national origin, disability or perceived disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, pregnancy, and certain other things.
In order to have a legal claim for discrimination in the workplace, there has to be an "adverse employment action." Usually that shows up as a termination, but it can be a demotion or some other action that affects your compensation and status negatively. A poor performance review by itself is not generally considered an adverse action.
You can, however, report the discrimination to someone in the company and ask them to address it. A good faith report of discrimination or unlawful harassment is a protected activity under the law, and your employer is not allowed to take action against you in retaliation for making the complaint.
Learn more here about Massachusetts discrimination laws.
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