According to the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act, discrimination that is based on gender characteristics, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status are all prohibited. Discrimination and sexual harassment are illegal per state law, and at the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stipulates that no one shall discriminate against another individual at work due to gender or sexual harassment.
For Maryland sexual harassment law, gender identity is a specifically outlined protection that prohibits someone from being harassed or discriminated against due to appearance, identity behavior, or expression of gender at birth.
What kinds of behaviors are encompassed under “sexual harassment”?
There are many different behaviors that are encompassed under sexual harassment: sexual innuendos, non consensual touching, derogatory comments or remarks, unwelcome sexual advances, offensive sexually explicit material or even offensive jokes. To establish a claim of sexual harassment, you must be able to prove that an individual engaged in systematic and pervasive behaviors that created an intimidating and threatening workplace environment. If the misconduct is repetitious enough to interfere with your work performance, then someone is creating a hostile work atmosphere, which is illegal both at the state and federal levels.
The other type of sexual harassment, which does not have to be repetitious or pervasive, is if someone in authority or someone who holds power over your work position propositions you for a sexual act or favor and either implicitly or explicitly makes you feel that your job security is dependent on your acquiescing. In the same manner, if someone offers you a promotion or a perk for a sexual favor, that can also be considered sexual harassment under Maryland sexual harassment law.