The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD) is the administrative agency that enforces the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination laws.  It handles a wide range of employment discrimination claims, including cases where individuals allege discrimination by an employer on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or handicap.  Although the MCAD resolves disputes and may award monetary damages, it is not part of the court system and has many policies and procedures which can be unfamiliar and confusing to employees and employers alike.

An MCAD action usually begins when an individual files a complaint.  If the MCAD has jurisdiction, it will send a formal written complaint to the person or organization against whom the complaint has been filed.  At that time, the employer is allowed to submit a position statement and an investigative conference involving the parties occurs.

After conducting an investigation, the MCAD will determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that unlawful discrimination may have occurred.  If so, the matter may proceed to a hearing where each side can present its evidence and call witnesses to testify under oath.  If the MCAD finds in favor of the individual who filed the complaint, it may award monetary damages including back pay, attorneys’ fees, interest, and amounts to compensate for emotional distress.

If your business is the subject of an MCAD complaint, you may want to hire an attorney to guide you through the MCAD’s detailed and unfamiliar procedures.  For questions regarding an MCAD complaint against your business, please contact Attorney Michael P. Doherty or call us at 508 541-3000.