Q: What is civil service?
A: State and municipal employees may be hired and promoted under the civil service merit system in accordance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 31 and the Personnel Administration Rules. Civil service appointments are generally made by appointing authorities who select qualified applicants who have taken a competitive examination or completed a registration process. The Civil Service Unit within the Human Resources Division is responsible for overseeing the administration of the Massachusetts civil service merit system.
Q: What is the Civil Service Commission?
A: The Civil Service Commission hears and decides appeals of public employees under the protection of civil service laws by ensuring that employment decisions are based on the relative ability, knowledge and skills of the public employee, and to ensure that all individuals receive fair and impartial treatment. Generally, the Civil Service Commission hears bypass, disciplinary and reclassification appeals for public service employees.
Q: How do I obtain information about upcoming civil service examinations?
A: The Personnel Department issues press releases to local news and media agencies regarding upcoming civil service examinations. In addition, information on upcoming civil service examinations is available by visiting the Personnel Department located on the first floor of City Hall, Room 107, City Hall, 70 Allen Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 or by calling (413) 499-9340. Also, you may apply on-line for scheduled civil service examinations at the Human Resources Division website.
Q: What is discrimination?
A: Discrimination is unfair treatment because of an individual’s race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, handicap (disability), or genetic information. In the employment context, discrimination begins with an “adverse employment action”: something an employer does that hurts an employee, such as terminating the employee, not selecting the employee for a promotion, giving the employee a poor evaluation, harassing the employee with derogatory remarks or behaviors, or denying the employee’s request for an accommodation of disability.
Q: What is sexual harassment?
A: Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex, which is defined as sexual advances, requests for sexual factors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions;
b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purposes or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.
Q: What does the law require of Massachusetts employers with respect to discrimination?
A: Employers in Massachusetts with six or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, handicap (disability), or genetic information. In addition, employers have an affirmative responsibility to provide maternity leave to biological and adoptive parents.
Q: What should I do if I’ve been discriminated against?
A: If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you have the right to file a complaint, written or verbal, with the City of Pittsfield:
1) You may contact the Director of Personnel, located on the first floor of City Hall, Personnel Office, Room 107, 70 Allen Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201, (413) 499-9340.
2) You may file a complaint with the City’s Human Rights Commission. You can find the information on how to file a complaint with the HRC here:
You may also file a formal complaint with either or both of the government agencies set forth below. Each of the agencies has a short time period for filing a claim (EEOC – 180 days; MCAD – 6 months):
- The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) Boston Area Office: John F. Kennedy Federal Building, 475 Government Center, Boston, MA 02203, (617) 565-3200 or toll-free (800) 669-4000, TTY (617) 565-3204, TTY toll-free (800) 669-6820.
- The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) Boston office: One Ashburton Place, Room 601, Boston, MA 02108, (617) 994-6000, TTY (617) 994-6196. Springfield office: 436 Dwight Street, Room 220, Springfield, MA 01103, (413) 739-2145.