§ 1 Definitions
§ 2 Policies; recommendations
§ 3 Functions, powers and duties of commission
§ 3A Employers’ policies against sexual harassment; preparation of model policy; education and training programs
§ 4 Unlawful practices
§ 4A Conveyance by void instruments; penalty
§ 5 Complaints; procedure; limitations; bar to proceeding; award of damages
§ 6 Review of commission’s order; court order for enforcement; appeals; availability of commission’s copy of testimony; limitations
§ 7 Posting notices setting forth excerpts of statute and other information; refusal to post
§ 8 Interference with commission; violation of order
§ 9 Construction and enforcement of chapter; inconsistent laws; exclusiveness of statutory procedure; civil remedies; speedy trial; attorney’s fees and costs; damages
§ 10 Partial invalidity

Terms Used In Massachusetts General Laws > Chapter 151B - Unlawful Discrimination Because of Race, Color, Religious Creed, National Origin, Ancestry or Sex

  • accessible: means that housing is functional for and can be safely and independently used by a physically or mentally handicapped person and complies with rules or regulations established by the commission. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • commercial space: means any space in a building, structure, or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied for the manufacture, sale, resale, processing, reprocessing, displaying, storing, handling, garaging or distribution of personal property; and any space which is used or occupied, or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied as a separate business or professional unit or office in any building, structure or portion thereof. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • contiguously located housing: means (1) housing which is offered for sale, lease or rental by a person who owns or at any time has owned, or who otherwise controls or at any time has controlled, the sale of ten or more housing accommodations located on land that is contiguous (exclusive of public streets), and which housing is located on such land, or (2) housing which is offered for sale, lease or rental and which at any time was one of ten or more lots of a tract whose plan has been submitted to a planning board as required by THE SUBDIVISION CONTROL LAW, as appearing in sections eighty-one K to eighty-one GG, inclusive, of chapter forty-one. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • employment agency: includes any person undertaking to procure employees or opportunities to work. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • genetic information: shall mean any written, recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result or family history pertaining to the presence, absence, variation, alteration, or modification of a human gene or genes. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • genetic test: shall mean any tests of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying genes or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • handicap: means (a) a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities of a person; (b) a record of having such impairment; or (c) being regarded as having such impairment, but such term shall not include current, illegal use of a controlled substance as defined in section one of chapter ninety-four C. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • handicapped person: means any person who has a handicap. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Interests: includes any form of membership in a domestic or foreign nonprofit corporation. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 156D sec. 11.01
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • labor organization: includes any organization which exists and is constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • major life activities: means functions, including, but not limited to, caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • Mortgage loan: A loan made by a lender to a borrower for the financing of real property. Source: OCC
  • multiple dwelling: means a dwelling which is usually occupied for permanent residence purposes and which is either rented, leased, let or hired out, to be occupied as the residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Oath: A promise to tell the truth.
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • other covered housing accommodations: includes all housing accommodations not specifically covered under subsections 10, 11 and 12 which are directly or through an agent made generally available to the public for sale or lease or rental, by advertising in a newspaper or otherwise, by posting of a sign or signs or a notice or notices on the premises or elsewhere, by listing with a broker, or by any other means of public offering. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • person: includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, receivers, and the commonwealth and all political subdivisions, boards, and commissions thereof. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
  • Preliminary hearing: A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Probate: Proving a will
  • qualified handicapped person: means a handicapped person who is capable of performing the essential functions of a particular job, or who would be capable of performing the essential functions of a particular job with reasonable accommodation to his handicap. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • sexual harassment: shall mean sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions; (b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • Testify: Answer questions in court.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • unlawful practice: includes only those unlawful practices specified in section four. See Massachusetts General Laws ch. 151B sec. 1