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Laws and Regulations

Federal Law

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination in the workplace against people who are 40 or older. This act is enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or job applicant and may require reasonable accommodations that do not pose an undue burden on the University.

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  A student has the right to have access to their education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, the right to have control over disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records (except in certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations), and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.

The term "education records" is defined as those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.  FERPA generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records. Thus, information that an official obtained through personal knowledge or observation, or has heard orally from others, is not protected under FERPA.  This remains applicable even if education records exist which contain that information, unless the official had an official role in making a determination that generated a protected education record. 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex.  It is enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972 is a federal law that addresses gender discrimination and sexual harassment in educational institutional programs.  It provides that no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training, or other education program or activity offered by the University.  This act is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. 

Massachusetts State Law

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151B (MGL 151B) prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, criminal record (inquiries only), disability, mental illness, retaliation, sexual harassment, active military personnel, and genetics.  In addition, employers have an affirmative responsibility to provide parental leave to biological and adoptive parents.

Chapter 337, An Act Relative to Sexual Violence on Higher Education Campuses: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Jan. 12, 2021, landmark legislation addressing sexual violence on college and university campuses. The new law is the state's version of Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in higher education, with additional focus on preventing, reporting and responding to sexual assaults and other forms of sexual violence. The state's version overlaps with various aspects of Title IX and other federal laws in requiring policies and procedures to address sexual misconduct promptly and equitably. In addition, it imposes further obligations, most notably a requirement to conduct a campus climate survey every four years, implement specific student and employee training programs, and submit to the state an annual report. - Holland and Knight

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