MCAD Under Threat to Improve Operations and Investigation Timelines

April 22, 2024by admin0

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) received a letter from two of its “community partners” this past February requesting a memorandum of understanding to help tackle longstanding and persistent investigation delays. All three parties met at the end of March, but MCAD has yet to agree to a memorandum even with a looming threat of federal lawsuit. MCAD is expected to complete Housing and Urban Development (HUD) investigations within 100 days and non-HUD investigations within 18 months. However, the Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) and Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (Urban League) cite state auditor reports dating from 2016 and 2022 showing significant delays and a clear lack of progress from MCAD.

For example, MCAD had 1,839 non-housing complaint cases in June of 2015 that went over the 18-month benchmark by an average of 325 days. It also had 108 housing cases averaging 553 days over the 100-day timeframe for completion. In June 2021, MCAD exceeded these time limits by 77.4 percent for its housing investigations and by 41.6 percent for non-housing investigations. Both LCR and Urban League recently conducted their own investigations of MCAD and detailed the difficulties they experienced to Lawyers Weekly. This included attempting to secure an intake appointment, with results repeatedly yielding either no availability or availability months into the future. These delays risk complainants exceeding the maximum timeframe to file and jeopardize the financial well-being of those MCAD is intended to serve. 

LCR and Urban League further state that MCAD is short on physical offices after closing in New Bedford, an area particularly affected by the housing crisis and subsequent housing discrimination. In response, MCAD states that it is working to open a new Fall River office to replace the New Bedford office. It also projects that fiscal year 2024 will have the highest number of complaint filings in two decades. A recent funding increase has allowed for additional hiring with more competitive salaries; however, MCAD still remains short on workers with a significant backlog of investigations. Both LCR and Urban League appear hopeful that MCAD  can address its operational deficiencies without the need for a costly and time-consuming lawsuit. However, both groups remain skeptical that MCAD will hit its goals without agreeing to a memorandum of understanding that outlines the steps and community commitment necessary for improvement.

Pregent Law handles a wide range of discrimination cases, including employment and housing matters. If you feel that you are the victim of discrimination, I encourage you to contact me for a free consultation. Your best defense is not waiting. 

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