The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) prohibits hiring practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, ancestry, status as a veteran, age (40 years and older), or handicap, unless the characteristic is a bona fide occupational qualification. The FEPA also prohibits employment discrimination based on a person’s membership in the military.
The FEPA applies to all public employers and to private employers with six or more employees (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 151B Sec. 1 et seq.).
Marital status. State regulations prohibit employers from making any distinction between married and unmarried women that is not made between married and unmarried men, and vice versa (804 MA Admin. Code Sec. 3.01(4)(a)(5)).
An employer may not request an applicant or employee to provide, or otherwise make or keep a record of, information regarding:
• An arrest or violation of law that did not result in a conviction
• A first conviction of certain misdemeanors
• Any misdemeanor conviction more than 5 years in the past, unless there has been a more recent conviction
Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against any employee or applicant who refuses or fails to provide such information (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 151B Sec. 4).
Criminal records. The FEPA prohibits an employer from using its initial written application form to request criminal offender record information, unless:
• A federal or state law creates a disqualification for the job in question based on a conviction for certain criminal offenses, or
• The employer is prohibited by state or federal law from hiring individuals ...