Attorney John Davis won a case of first impression in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in late 2010 on the issue of associational race discrimination.
Davis successfully argued to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) that his client was subjected to employment-based associational discrimination in violation of M.G.L. c. 151B § 1 et seq.
Davis’ client, a Caucasian employee, was engaged to a woman of Jamaican national origin. His Caucasian boss directed racial slurs to the employee about his fiancée, which created a hostile work environment. On appeal, Respondents argued that Complainant did not have standing to file a claim for racial discrimination because the employee is not a member of the protected class at issue. The MCAD found that an individual who is discriminated against by virtue of a personal association with a member of a protected class has standing to bring a claim and is given the statute’s protections and remedies.
Davis’ client won and was awarded $50,000 in emotional distress damages. The MCAD also issued a $10,000 civil penalty against the Respondents.