UMass Boston

Civil Rights

The Office of Civil Rights and Title IX works with students, faculty, staff, and other campus community members to build a community free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, mental illness, criminal record (inquiries only), veteran status, active military personnel, genetics, pregnancy and related conditions, marital or parental status, and/or retaliation.

We welcome anyone to come to our office with their questions and/or concerns so we can help navigate the scope of civil rights with respect to campus policies and procedures.

Specifically, our office will address any questions, concerns, or complaints regarding discrimination, harassment, or need for accommodations. To assist with this discussion, the following are the current defined protected classes: 


The 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination


Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) requires schools to make their programs accessible to qualified students with disabilities.

  • The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA) prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant, and direct the university to provide reasonable accommodation that does not pose an undue burden.

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Massachusetts ADA grievance

National Origin



A sincerely held belief that an individual or group of people practice and/or worship that may need to be reasonably accommodated if it does not pose an undue burden to do so

Massachusetts Law on unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, or sex, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination


The 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibits treating someone differently or unfavorably because of that person’s sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is prohibited

  • Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Massachusetts Law on unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, or sexMassachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act expressly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such as lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child. Generally, employers have an obligation to accommodate pregnant workers.

MCAD Guidance on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

  • Gender Identity: Massachusetts General Laws (MGL 151B) prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, which is defined as “a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.
    • Gender identity is internal and a central part of a  person’s sense of self
    • Gender expression is the external way of defining self and is separate from sexual orientation and gender assigned at birth.
  • Sexual Orientation: Having an orientation for or being identified as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality
  • Pregnancy: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits schools that receive federal funds from discriminating against students on the basis of sex, which includes a student’s “actual or potential” parental, family or marital status and a student’s “pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery there from.”  -- Title IX Know Your Rights (DOE).

Massachusetts Law on Gender Expression and Identity, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination GLAD

Veteran Status

You are a “protected veteran” under VEVRAA if you belong to one of the categories of veterans described below:

  • Disabled Veteran: A veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military and is entitled to disability compensation, or was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability. 
  • Other Protected Veteran: A veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military during a war, or in a campaign or expedition 
  • Recently Separated Veteran: A veteran separated during the three-year period beginning on the date of the veteran’s discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military. 
  • Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran: A veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, participated in a U.S. military operation that received an rmed Forces service

Massachusetts Department of Veteran Services, Boston Regional Veterans Affairs Office, United States Veterans Affairs