What law prohibits sexually hostile work environments?
Both c. 151B and Title VII started as statutes designed to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sex. (Which more accurately should be “gender.” It is interesting to speculate as to whether the law would have evolved differently if from the beginning the conduct were termed “gender discrimination” rather than “sex discrimination.”) This prohibition of gender discrimination evolved into prohibitions of unwelcome sexual conduct in the workplace. This happened under the state statute both by legislative and judicial action and under the federal statute by administrative and judicial action. Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1) makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s . . . sex . . . The Massachusetts statute, c. 151B § 4(1) similarly makes it