Massachusetts Affirmative Action laws & HR compliance analysis

Massachusetts Affirmative Action: What you need to know

Affirmative action laws require the employer to make proactive efforts to represent individuals from certain protected classes in the workplace at levels that reflect their numbers in the community. Affirmative action requirements are separate and distinct from nondiscrimination laws, which prohibit discriminatory acts against protected persons but do not mandate proactive steps in their favor. This section is limited to a discussion of affirmative action requirements. There is a full discussion of nondiscrimination laws.
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The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practice Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, ancestry, disability, or military status (including those who are planning to join the armed services). The Act covers employers with six or more employees (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 151B Sec. 1et seq.). It has no specific affirmative action provisions that cover private employers.
State agencies. All state agencies must develop and implement affirmative action and diversity plans to identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers in the workplace; remedy the effects of past discriminatory practices; identify, recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain employees who are members of underrepresented groups; and ensure diversity and equal opportunity in all facets, terms, and conditions of state employment. The plans must include specific goals and timetables for achievement, comply with all applicable state and federal laws, and be updated at least every 2 years. The requirements apply to all state agencies ...

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