Disabilities (ADA): Massachusetts

This item is part of Disabilities (ADA).

The below content should be reviewed in conjunction with the in-depth federal coverage of this topic provided above.

Author: Artie Jones and Patrick F. Martin, Littler Mendelson, PC


  • In addition to the federal equal opportunity laws, Massachusetts employers must comply with the state and local antidiscrimination laws, most prominently the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151B. See Disability Discrimination in Massachusetts.
  • The state agency responsible for enforcing Chapter 151B, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, has published guidelines regarding whether certain conditions may be considered "handicaps" under Chapter 151B. See Administrative Enforcement.
  • Chapter 151B prohibits discrimination against employees whose family members are disabled. See Associational Discrimination.
  • Chapter 151B prohibits an employer from discriminating against applicants and employees based on genetic information. Chapter 151B further prohibits employers from soliciting genetic information as a condition of employment, requiring or inducing any applicant to undergo a genetic test or questioning a person about their genetic information. See Genetic Testing.
  • Massachusetts permits the use of marijuana for medical purposes. See Humanitarian Use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes Act.
  • A Boston City Ordinance prohibits employment discrimination in Boston. The Boston ordinance specifically prohibits an employer from directly or indirectly refusing to hire, refusing to employ, refusing to promote, unlawfully terminating, or discriminating against an individual in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment (which includes compensation) based on a person's membership in a protected class unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification. Disability is considered a protected class. See Local Ordinances.