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Contract workers have legal remedies when their rights are abridged

Your editorial “Harassment rules should apply to adjuncts, contract workers” (Nov. 7) might lead some contract workers to believe that they lack legal protection if they are harassed. Massachusetts is at the forefront in protecting the rights of independent contractors to be treated equally and to be free from harassment.

The Massachusetts Equal Rights Act gives contract workers the right to be free from discrimination, including harassment, based on their sex, race, color, creed, national origin, age, or disability. The Massachusetts Harassment Prevention Act gives all citizens the right to be free from harassment. Victims of harassment can obtain a harassment prevention order or a restraining order, compensatory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and, in some instances, punitive damages.

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While company policies and practices that limit and prevent harassment and discrimination against contract workers are important, when prevention fails, contract workers often have legal remedies that they can pursue.

J. Whitfield Larrabee

Brookline

The writer is an attorney.

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