Massachusetts Civil Rights Laws

Civil rights are the rights of individuals to be treated as equals under the law, which includes freedom from discrimination in employment. Most civil rights laws are federal, including those encoded in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but states sometimes extend extra protections. Massachusetts law, for instance, recognizes transgender individuals as a protected class; discrimination against people on the basis of gender identity or gender expression is prohibited.

Massachusetts Civil Rights Laws at a Glance

Below you'll find Massachusetts-specific laws on civil rights in various different contexts, including whether private civil rights actions are permitted, applicable statutes of limitations, and pertinent code provisions. Click on the links below for state-specific civil rights laws and visit the What Are Rights? article for more information.

Code Section Ch. 151B §1, et seq. (Generally); Ch. 272 §§92A, 98 (Public Accommodations)
Agency Generally: Commission Against Discrimination; Public Accommodations: None
Administrative Preemption Generally: Yes; Public Accommodations: No
Private Action Permitted? Generally: No; Public Accommodations: Yes
Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff? Generally: Yes; Public Accommodations: No
Statute of Limitations Generally: 300 days; Civil Rights Actions: 3 yrs.-civil action (Ch. 260 §5B)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Questions About Your Civil Rights in Massachusetts? Get Answers From a Lawyer Today

Whether you're in Massachusetts or any other state, you're entitled to certain basic civil rights which are protected by law. If you think you're rights have been violated by another person, company or official, it's important to take action both to stop the violations and to remedy the harm you've experienced. Get started today by reaching out to an experienced civil rights attorney in Massachusetts who can investigate your case and lay out a path forward.