An Overview of Racial Harassment in the Massachusetts Workplace

What are grounds for filing claims against your Massachusetts employer for racial harassment?

Federal and Massachusetts law both prohibit harassment based upon race. As a Massachusetts employment firm, we are experienced in the complexities presented by racial harassment claims and have handled those types of claims across Massachusetts, including in Berkshire County, Springfield, Worcester, Lawrence, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, and the Cape. We have offices conveniently located in each of these regions in order to better serve or clients.

The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits employers from harassing employees based upon their race. So too does Title VII, a federal law that closely follows the contours of the Massachusetts law. Regardless of the statute, to succeed on a racial harassment claim, an employee must demonstrate that the harassment he or she is facing is related to his or her race, is unwelcome, is objectively and subjectively offensive, and that it is severe and pervasive.

The most powerful way to establish a racial harassment claim is through evidence that directly shows harassing intent. This type of evidence typically takes the form of derogatory comments made by a supervisor about someone’s race. In our experience, racial is the most common form of unlawful harassment, along with sexual harassment.     

To succeed on a racial harassment claim, employees do not need to establish that they were terminated because of their race or that they received a demotion or were disciplined because of their race. That’s only a requirement of a race discrimination claim.

Hostile work environment claims based upon race-related harassment follow the same analysis set forth above relative to harassment claims. In other words, in this context, ‘hostile work environment’ is synonymous with harassment.

Unfortunately, bullying is not unlawful directed at you because of your race, or because of some other protected characteristic. In other words, your boss does not have to be nice to you. In fact, he or she can be quite mean: They just can’t be mean to you because of your race or due to some other protected characteristic.

In 2015, we successfully represented an individual who was suffering from racial harassment. Click here to learn more about that case.

Do you live in Chicopee, Springfield, Pittsfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, Lawrence, New Bedford, or the Cape?  Are you being harassed at work because of your race? Contact Massachusetts employment attorneys Steffans Legal to schedule a free consultation.