Breaking down Superintendent Easy’s discrimination claim


Credit: Genevieve Morrison

WSPN’s Genevieve Morrison breaks down the MCAD filing process following Superintendent’s complaint against the School Committee Feb. 10.

Genevieve Morrison

On Friday, Feb. 10, Superintendent Omar Easy filed a discrimination claim against the Wayland School Committee, Wayland Public Schools, Ellen Greico and Chris Ryan. His claim was to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. This action sparked confusion among the community about what this will mean for the accused parties and the town as a whole.

What is the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)?

MCAD is an independent state agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws in Massachusetts. They investigate discrimination complaints and provide anti-discrimination training. They also determine whether cases will proceed to a hearing.

What happens when someone files a discrimination complaint?

1. Individual files a complaint.

2. Respondents file a position statement, in response to the claim. The person who filed the complaint will receive a copy of this statement and have an opportunity to submit a written rebuttal

3. MCAD investigates the complaint. They gather evidence, interview witnesses, review relevant documents and conduct site visits.

4. MCAD makes a determination based on their investigation. They write a report called an “Investigative Disposition” that explains whether or not there was enough evidence to support a conclusion that discrimination took place. There are two outcomes that MCAD could determine:

– A “probable cause” determination means that there was sufficient evidence to determine that discrimination may have occurred. When this occurs, the case proceeds to a conciliation. If the matter is still not resolved, the case proceeds to public hearing.

– A “lack of probable cause” determination means that the MCAD did not find enough evidence to establish that unlawful discrimination took place. Complainants can appeal this determination within ten days of receiving it.

5. If the case proceeds to public hearing, this will include witnesses testifying under oath to an MCAD commissioner. Commissioners serve as the judge of this hearing. Both parties may have an attorney to represent them at this hearing.

Is an MCAD complaint a lawsuit?

No, an MCAD filing is simply an official, legal discrimination complaint. Complainants can bring a lawsuit against recipients based on an MCAD claim, but this can only happen 90 days after the complaint is filed.

When can these documents be released to the public?

After 90 days of filing a complaint, complainants have the choice to remove this complaint and file it in court, or leave it in MCAD. While cases are in MCAD, they are not public records. The only people with access to the relevant documents are the complainant(s) and the respondent(s.) This only changes at the point where MCAD reaches an investigative determination. However, not all cases reach determinations, in which case records would remain private. Complaints are also made public if the complainant attends a public hearing through MCAD.

MCAD avoids release of records before this point.

“The release of all information regarding allegations of discrimination risks a chilling effect on complainants and witnesses, as well as unintended and unwarranted damage to respondents’ reputations and goodwill,” MCAD states in their guidelines. “Such a release may also prejudice and compromise the integrity of the Commission’s investigation.”

Easy’s Feb. 10 discrimination filing was released on WaylandeNews on Feb. 11. It’s unclear how these records were released to the public prematurely, or what scope the public will have into this case as it progresses.

WaylandeNews did not immediately respond for comment.