Workplace harassment is a pervasive problem in workplaces across the United States, and Boston is no exception. The city of Boston has taken significant steps to combat workplace harassment by enacting robust legal protections for employees. This article will discuss the types and forms of workplace harassment, as well as the legal protections available to employees in Boston.

Types of Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment can take many different forms but generally falls into two categories: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment.

Quid pro quo (Latin for “something for something”) harassment occurs when an employee is asked to perform sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits such as a promotion or a raise. This type of harassment is typically perpetrated by a supervisor or someone in a position of power over the employee.

Hostile work environment harassment, on the other hand, occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome behavior that is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or offensive work environment. This type of harassment can come from a coworker, supervisor, or even a customer or client.

Forms of Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment can take many different forms, including but not limited to sexual harassment. Some common forms of workplace harassment include:

  • Sexual harassment: This can include unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. For example, an employee may be subjected to comments about their physical appearance or inappropriate touching.
  • Racial harassment: This can include derogatory comments or actions directed towards an employee because of their race or ethnicity. For example, an employee may be subjected to racial slurs or jokes.
  • Gender-based harassment: This can include comments or actions directed towards an employee because of their gender identity or gender expression. For example, an employee may be subjected to comments about their clothing or appearance that are based on gender stereotypes.
  • Religious harassment: This can include derogatory comments or actions directed towards an employee because of their religious beliefs or practices. For example, an employee may be subjected to comments or actions that are intended to make them feel uncomfortable or unwelcome because of their religious beliefs.
  • Age-based harassment: This can include derogatory comments or actions directed towards an employee because of their age. For example, an employee may be subjected to ageist jokes or comments about their abilities.

Legal Protections for Employees in Boston

Employees in Boston are protected by a variety of laws that prohibit workplace harassment. Some of the most significant legal protections available to employees in Boston include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This federal law prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who report discrimination or harassment.
  • Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151B: This state law prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, ancestry, age, or disability. This law applies to employers with six or more employees.
  • Massachusetts Equal Pay Act: This state law prohibits employers from paying employees of one gender less than employees of another gender for comparable work. This law applies to all employers in Massachusetts.
  • Boston Workplace Ordinance: This city ordinance requires employers in Boston to provide their employees with written notice of their rights under state and federal law regarding workplace harassment. The ordinance also requires employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training to their employees.
  • Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act: This state law provides employees with job-protected leave to care for themselves or a family member with a serious health condition. This law applies to employers with one or more employees.

The Bottom Line

Workplace harassment is a serious issue that can have significant negative impacts on employees and their organizations. However, legal protections in Boston and throughout Massachusetts provide employees with the right to a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. By understanding these legal protections and taking proactive steps to prevent harassment, employees and employers can work together to create a safe and respectful workplace culture.

If you are an employee who has experienced workplace harassment, it is important to seek the help of an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Swartz & Swartz is a Boston-based law firm with extensive experience in employment law and workplace harassment cases. We have dedicated workplace harassment lawyers who can fight for you and hold employers accountable for their actions. If you need legal assistance regarding workplace harassment, contact Swartz & Swartz to schedule a consultation with the best lawyer.

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If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
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Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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