Overview: In Babu v. Aspen Dental Management, the MCAD found in favor of the Complainant, awarding back pay and emotional distress damages for claims of employment discrimination and retaliation. The Complainant, a Romanian immigrant and trained dental assistant, alleged that she was subjected to harassment because of her accent and was retaliated against for objecting to the officer manager’s sexualized behavior towards male patients. The Complainant had consistently received very positive employment reviews in her eight years at Aspen Dental practices prior to the incident in question but was ultimately terminated fourteen months after filing her MCAD complaint.
The hearing officer credited the Complainant’s testimony that she confronted her supervisor about flirting with a patient in the office over the supervisor’s denial. Under a disparate treatment analysis, the hearing officer found direct and indirect evidence of national origin discrimination. The justifications put forth by the Respondent for the discipline against the Complainant and for her eventual termination were found to be illegitimate after close scrutinization. There was a causal connection between the protected activity of complaining about the supervisor’s demeanor and the subsequent adverse employment actions, which had included a demotion in pay and title.