Employment FAQ


1 - What are my rights when faced with discrimination?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of or during any stage of employment.

It is illegal to harass or discriminate against any employee on the basis of the following protected characteristics: sex and gender, sexual orientation, age of 40 or more years, race, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition or genetic characteristic, religion, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, family leave, medical leave, status as a domestic violence victim, citizenship, and veteran/military status.

Congress and most states have passed laws that prohibit discrimination and require equal employment opportunity. By codifying the principle of fairness, equal employment opportunity provides individuals with the chance to succeed.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination and is responsible for enforcing the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination laws in order to protect, preserve, and enhance the civil rights of its citizens.

2 - What are my rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants.

The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

3 - What are my rights under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, and employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also pertains to employment agencies and to labor organizations.

To be in compliance with the ADA, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations.

An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation.

4 - What are my rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

The FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers, and promotes equal employment opportunity for men and women.

5 - What are my rights when faced with termination?

Unemployment Benefits:

Unemployment benefits provide temporary compensation to those workers meeting the eligibility requirements of Massachusetts law.

Severance Agreement:

When an employer terminates an employee, it is often in the employer’s interest to offer a terminated employee severance in exchange for the employee’s promise not to bring any legal claims against the company in the future.