State Enacts New Discrimination Protections

July 27, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

On July 26, the Governor signed H.4554 into law, prohibiting discrimination based on natural hairstyles.

The law was borne out of schools and athletic organizations limiting student participation based on hairstyles historically associated with race. Massachusetts joins 18 other states as part of a national movement to pass this type of protection.

The new law amends the state’s anti-discrimination statute (Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 151B) to add protections for natural or protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, twists, Bantu knots and other formations. It applies to all residential real estate transactions, along with existing protections for race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or ancestry. The new protections provided by this law extend beyond Federal fair housing law and NAR Code of Ethics Article 10 requirements, but are captured by Standard of Practice 11-4, requiring compliance with all legal duties and the preamble requiring REALTORS® to remain informed on issues affecting real estate.

Please help us spread the word to assure that Massachusetts REALTORS® continue to provide the highest level of service to all.