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City of Cambridge

Alert!

11/15/2017 3:25 p.m. Expect traffic delays on Sunday, Nov. 19, starting at 7:30 a.m. in Kendall Square, Central Square, Riverside & Cambridgeport during the 2017 Cambridge Half Marathon (Course Time Limit: 3 hours). The event will also impact MBTA bus service along the route. The 13.1 mile race starts at CambridgeSide, heads west through MIT & Harvard to No Beacon St. bridge in Watertown, then back along the Charles River to finish line in Canal Park. More details »

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File a Discrimination Complaint

Human Rights Commission

If you believe you have been discriminated against in violation of either the Cambridge Human Rights Ordinance, chapter 2.76, or the Cambridge Fair Housing Ordinance, chapter 14.04, you may file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Tips and FAQs

How does it benefit me to file a complaint?

  • Very often, complaints filed with the Commission result in mutually-agreeable settlements even before an investigation is completed. Investigations can also result in "compensable remedies" for injuries sustained from an act of discrimination. 

How soon do I have to file the complaint after I was discriminated against?

All complaints of discrimination under the Cambridge Human Rights Ordinance and the Cambridge Fair Housing Ordinance must be filed within 180 days of the occurrence of the last act of discrimination. If the last discriminatory act or occurrence was more than 180 days before the filing of the complaint, but less than 300 days earlier, the Complainant should contact the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). 

What preliminary information do I need to provide the Commission in filing my complaint?

At the intake meeting, you should be able to provide the Commission investigator with the following information:

  • Your name, work and home addresses, and work and home phone numbers
  • Names, work addresses, and work phone numbers of the people or entities you believe discriminated against you
  •  A concise chronology of discriminatory incidents that you believe occurred, with approximate dates
  • A list of names and phone numbers of witnesses, if known
  • If you have documents relevant to your complaint, be sure to keep them in a safe place, as you will be asked to submit them during the investigation 

May I file my complaint anonymously?

Yes, if "public interest" requires the use of a pseudonym. Factors used by the Commission in determining whether public interest would be served by allowing the Complainant to proceed under a pseudonym are:

  • The potential physical danger to the Complainant if his or her identity is disclosed to the  Respondent and/or its agent, and
  • The privacy interests of the Complainant. 

What if the Respondent (the employer, the landlord, etc.) retaliates against me for filing the complaint?

  • Reprisal against Complainants or witnesses in a civil rights investigation is also a civil rights violation. A complaint alleging reprisal is considered on its own merit, whether or not the original complaint is upheld. 

Last Updated: 3/5/2017 | Provide feedback on this page

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