Few areas of law are updated and changed as much as sexual harassment legislation. Driving these changes are growing awareness, cultural trends like the “#MeToo” movement, and victims having more confidence to speak up, when they feel like an injustice has been done to them.
In 2018, Maryland went through another significant update when they introduced the “Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act,” which built on the existing sexual harassment legislation. This Act prohibits employers, regardless of their size, from requiring their employees to arbitrate claims of sexual harassment. It also contained a requirement for all employers with more than 50 employees to retroactively record and report certain information regarding sexual harassment incidents and settlements to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) before July 2020.
This means that avoiding altogether avoiding sexual harassment allegations in the state of Maryland is no longer possible, giving employees unprecedented protection from sexual harassment in the workplace
Other laws on sexual harassment in Maryland
Like all states, Maryland is protected at the federal level by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, and sexual harassment falls under this umbrella. This Act however only applies to companies with more than 15 employees, which is why many states, including Maryland, introduced their own state-level laws to help protect a greater number of people.
Maryland’s Fair Employment Practice Act used to only apply to employers with 15 or more employees, but as of October 2019, it applies to any size employer both in the public and private sectors.
On top of sexual harassment, the Fair Employment Practice Act covers a wide range of discrimination types like race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or ancestry.
So as you can see, there are many legal pathways for employees who have claims of discrimination in the workplace.
Defining sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can be anything from the wrong choice of words to explicit rape. Generally speaking, we can group all sexual harassment allegations into two main types, which are:
- “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment, whereby someone is subject to some type of sexual act that puts them in a hostile environment, like unwanted sexual advances, rude comments, stalking, or any other of the endless forms of this type of sexual harassment.
- “Quid-pro-quo” sexual harassment whereby an employer or higher-ranking employee tries to offer a job benefit, like a pay raise or promotion in exchange for sex or sexual favors.
Do you need help with a sexual harassment allegation in Maryland?
If you’re in the middle of a sexual harassment allegation or lawsuit, your best course of action is to get in touch with an experienced Maryland sexual harassment attorney who can help defend your rights and navigate the often confusing legal system. From Baltimore to Baldwin, attorneys are waiting to help.