In this guide, you'll find information on employment law.

Were You Fired For An Illegal Reason?

Did you sign an Employee Contract?  

NO 🡪 If you did not sign a contract when you were hired, your boss can fire you for almost any reason and most of the time, without warning. 

YES 🡪 If you did sign a contract at the start of your employment that lists certain reasons for termination, your boss can only fire you for the listed reasons. If you were fired for a reason not listed, your boss has broken the law. 



Your boss cannot fire you because you mention or report something illegal in the workplace.

You cannot be fired for asserting your rights as an employee in the workplace. 


Unemployment Insurance Benefits*  

Were You Laid Off?

Payment: You have the right to be paid for any unused vacation and sick time on your last day of work. This could be the date that you are told you are being laid off or at some later date. 


Unemployment Insurance Benefits*

Did You Quit Your Job?

Payment: You will most likely be paid at your regular pay period. Your employer does not have to pay you on your last day, but they must still include any unused vacation or sick time

TIP: consider giving your employer “Two Weeks Notice” before quitting, however, you are not required to do so 


Unemployment Insurance Benefits*

*Unemployment Insurance Benefits*

These benefits help you keep up with paying your bills while you look for a new job. Unemployment benefits can also provide health insurance and job training, while you look for a new job.  

*While most people in Massachusetts can get unemployment benefits, some are not able to. If you are an employee of a church, an independent contractor, a work-study student, a real estate agent/broker or insurance agent who works for commission only, or an elected official/policy adviser, you will not be able to get these benefits.  


For further information on eligibility and how to apply for unemployment insurance in Massachusetts, go to:  https://www.mass.gov/unemployment-benefits-for-claimants  

Employee/Workplace Discrimination


  1. It is illegal for your employer to treat you unfairly because of your race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, criminal record (inquiries only), handicap (disability), mental illness, retaliation, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, active military personnel, and genetics.  
  2. Employers have an affirmative responsibility to provide parental leave to biological and adoptive parents.  
  3. Massachusetts employment discrimination laws apply to employers with six or more employees, and any employer of a domestic worker regardless of the employer’s size.  
  4. If you feel like you are being treated unfairly and you are in a union, consult with your union about filing a grievance. 


For information about job accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act go to:   


How Do I File?

File a Complaint In Person 

Step 1: Intake Interview  

  • Upon arrival to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) office, you will fill out an intake form and meet with an MCAD representative to discuss in a private consultation what you experienced.  
  • Following the interview, the intake officer will determine whether the MCAD can take your case.  
  • If the intake officer determines to take the case, the investigator with use the facts gathered from your discussion to write a complaint.  

Step 2: File a Complaint:  

  • You will verify and sign the complaint written by the MCAD officer in order to officially file the complaint.  


MCAD Boston

1 Ashburton Place, Suite 601

Boston, MA 02108

(617) 994-6000

Español, 中文, Kreyòl Ayisyen, русский, Português, etc. 

(617) 994-6071

File a Complaint of Discrimination; Walk-In 

Consultations; Attend an MCAD Proceeding; Attend a Training

Headquarters Open: Monday-Friday (9am-5pm)


MCAD New Bedford Office

128 Union St, Suite 206  

New Bedford, MA 02740

(774) 510- 5802 

Headquarters Open:  Monday-Friday (9am-5pm) 

File a Complaint of Discrimination; Walk-In 



MCAD Worcester

484 Main Street, Room 320

Worcester, MA 01608

(508) 453- 9630 

Headquarters Open: Monday-Friday (9am-5pm)

File a Complaint of Discrimination; Walk-In 



MCAD Springfield

436 Dwight Street, Room 220

Springfield, MA 01103

(413) 739- 2145

Headquarters Open: Monday-Friday (9am-5pm)

File a Complaint of Discrimination; Walk-In 



File a Complaint By Mail 

While MCAD prefers you to file a complaint in person, if you are unable to do so, you may mail a Complaint that complies with the appropriate regulatory requirements. If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney may file on your behalf.   

Pursuant to the MCAD, you must include the following information for your complaint to be complete: 

  • A simple narrative of what occurred. 
  • Identify similarly-situated co-workers or individuals who were treated differently. 
  • Be specific as to dates and events. 
  • Include any documentation that you believe supports your complaint.
  • Sign and Date your complaint. 


File a Complaint By Phone 

While MCAD prefers you to file a complaint in person, if you are unable to do so you may request an accommodation by contacting the MCAD at 617-994-6171.  


Relevant Information and Resources:

Are you looking for information about accommodation and disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act? 

 Are you looking for more information about employment laws, regulations, or technical assistance services? 

  • If yes, then the US Department of Labor has tools for you. Go to: 


Are you seeking workers compensation? 

 Are you a public sector employee? Your rights and avenues of recovery may be different.  

 You may need to obtain your employee file (personnel record).  

  • Here is a sample letter to request your employee file: 



Content adapted from Job Accommodation Network, Fair Employment Project, Mass.gov, and Justice Bridge








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