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It is illegal to discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV status.

Massachusetts prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and HIV status.  The law’s protection extends to employees who are targeted because they are gay or perceived to be gay, whether they are or not.  Employers shall not allow employees to insult, harass or demean another employee for any of these reasons.

Example 1: Straight employee teases another straight employee for being gay, and encourages co-workers to participate in the harassment. Supervisor laughs it off when the target of harassment complains.  HR fails to fully investigate or take corrective action.  Employee who complains finds himself transferred to a less desirable job or shift.

Example 2:  Gay manager taunts or harasses other employees, straight and gay, with comments about their sex lives.  The supervisor shows favoritism to co-workers who laugh along.  The supervisor’s pals get good annual evaluations, but others receive less favorable performance ratings.

Example 3: Employee always received positive evaluations until rumors about her sexuality start.  Her job is singled out for elimination during an alleged corporate restructuring.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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