August 22, 2018

Boston –  Following a two-day public hearing, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”), is a decision dated August 8, 2018, found that a Subway®-restaurant franchisee in Easton Massachusetts, 2 Belsub Corp., discriminated against Arab-American customers based on their race, national origin, ethnicity, and religion in violation of the state’s Public Accommodations Law.  As a result, the MCAD: awarded compensatory damages to the victims; issued an injunction ordering the business to cease and desist from discriminating based on nationality, race, religion, and ethnicity; and ordered the business’s managers and employees to attend antidiscrimination training sponsored by the MCAD.

“Unlawful discrimination has no place in Massachusetts,” said Drohan, Hitt & Hadas LLC member John Hitt who is representing the family.  “It is important to act to protect members of the public from businesses that engage in discriminatory conduct that harms both the individual victims and the entire community.”

As the findings of the Commission show, the case stemmed from an incident, on the day after Thanksgiving 2014, during which an employee of the business stated to the family:

I’m the manager of Subway.  You are banned from our store.  We don’t need people like you.  Why don’t you go back to your  f**king country and learn how to speak English.  We don’t serve foreigners like you.  God Bless.

The Massachusetts Public Accommodations Law, which was one of the first—if not the first—civil rights law enacted in the United States in 1865, makes it unlawful for any business that solicits or accepts the patronage of the general public to distinguish among customers on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  The law prohibits discrimination with respect to both admission into, and treatment within, places of public accommodation.

The matter is captioned MCAD, et al. v. 2 Belsub Corporation, et al., 15-BPA-101141.