Juliana McCormick was the lone female carpenter on a major construction project in Boston that connected two of the city’s major subway lines. While working on the project, McCormick’s co-workers sexually harassed her. When she complained of the harassment to her supervisor, the male employees retaliated against her. Her supervisor assigned McCormick projects where she was forced to work in isolation and to do physically demanding work against her doctor’s orders. The initial discrimination and subsequent retaliation wore on her. She was unable to sleep, cried constantly, noticed substantial changes in her moods, and, in her words, just “shut down.”
Fortunately, the law provides protection for employees who suffer abuse similar to McCormick’s. Indeed, the law protected McCormick, because the actions taken against her occurred in the workplace and directly affected her employment. Massachusetts, however, needs to address its retaliation standard to ensure that all those who confront illegal discrimination and are unlawfully retaliated against for doing so, are provided the same level of protection as McCormick. . . .