What Employees Are Protected Under Anti-Discrimination Laws?
Employees are protected by discrimination laws if they fall within a category designated by federal or state law as a "protected class." Under federal law, protected classes include race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age (over 40), pregnancy, disability, and perceived disability.
In addition to these federally protected classes, Massachusetts employment law prohibits discriminating on the basis of:
It does mean that you have to be prepared to demonstrate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for your decision if the employee claims discrimination. Having documentation of any performance concerns or issues is helpful, even if it is not formal written warnings.
If you are considering terminating an employee who is protected under discrimination law, it is a good idea to consult with an employment lawyer to get guidance on the best way to handle the termination, as well as advice about your legal risk.
Learn more here about employment discrimination in Massachusetts.
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