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Employer can’t discriminate against an employee in an interracial relationship

An employee who is discriminated against because of his/her personal association with a member of a legally protected class has standing to bring a lawsuit under Massachusetts state law, even though the employee is not a member of the legally protected class.  The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) recently found in favor of a white employee who was harassed because he was engaged to a black Jamaican woman.  His relationship with his fiancee was well known at the company.  The President of the company, with whom the employee regularly dealt, often made offensive, abusive racial comments.  The MCAD concluded that the white employee was targeted for racial harassment because of his relationship with a woman of color.

The employer unsuccessfully argued that the white employee could not file a claim for discrimination because of his association with his black fiancee because he himself is not black.  The MCAD disagreed. The Massachusetts anti-discrimination law has a broad remedial purpose.  This law is designed to remove artificial and unnecessary barriers to the workplace based on discrimination.  The case is reported as MCAD v. American Reclamation Corp.

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


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