Sex and Age Discrimination in Massachusetts a Common Workplace Issue

A pair of Massachusetts court decisions this week highlight the issues of gender discrimination and age discrimination in Massachusetts. Boston employment attorneys understand the complex issues surrounding gender and age discrimination. Employers may not discriminate based on race, or gender, or against those over 40, or any number of other protected classes. Still, these issues happen with startling regularity. In one of these cases, a judge known for taking a hard stand against employment violations is now being accused of discriminating against a potential hire based on her gender. These are complex cases. Failure to assert your rights at the outset can impact your ability to make a claim. In today's job market, losing a career position — or any position for that matter — can have a long-term impact on the financial well-being of you and your family. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports 35,890 race discrimination suits were filed last year, accounting for about one-third of all employment lawsuits. A total of 29,029 sex discrimination suits were filed in 2010. A Human Resources trade publication is reporting that a 61-year-old housekeeper did not receive pay raises or performance bonuses after her relationship with her manager began to deteriorate in 2004. The employer blamed it on a pay freeze, although other employees received raises. A meeting with a corporate vice president did not resolve the issues. According to the lawsuit, the employee's relationship with her manager continued to deteriorate and he made a number of age-based comments, including asking her when she was going to retire. The employee, a 22-year veteran, also took flak for hiring a 52-year-old laundry worker. The employer then made allegations of racism against her and terminated employment. She sued for age discrimination and the company quickly moved to have the case dismissed. The court denied the company's motion, saying the employee had met her burden of proof by showing that she was a member of a protected class, had been a high performer and had been subject to adverse employment decisions. The court ruled her case could continue. In a gender discrimination case, the Globe reports the state's civil rights chief found the judge ignored the recommendations of a hiring panel and improperly passed over a female employee for promotion. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination awarded the woman more than $200,000. She had been employed by the court system for more than 20 years. The woman had applied for a job as the operations and maintenance supervisor with the Plymouth District Court. She had previously spent 14 years as a regional facilities manager at seven courthouses in the Boston area. The judge chose a man for the position who was the panel's third choice. He maintained after the decision that he had chosen the best person for the job. The civil rights agency said the woman was not chosen out of bias for what is traditionally a position held by men. A spokesperson said the Trial Court of Massachusetts plans to appeal.

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