MD: Updated Harassment Laws Effective 10/1

Several new workplace harassment-related law changes are set to take effect in Maryland on October 1, 2019.

According to JD Supra, changes include the following:

  • The definition of “employee” now includes employees and independent contractors.
  • The definition of “employer” now includes, for harassment claims only, employers with one (1) or more employees.
  • The law now expressly defines “harassment” which may be on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
  • The law specifies that an employer is liable for the harassment committed by an employee’s supervisor or if the negligence of the employer led to the harassment or continuation of the harassment.
  • The law extends the period for filing a complaint of harassment with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights to two (2) years from the date of the alleged harassment (increased from six months), and extends the period for filing a civil lawsuit to three (3) years from the date of the alleged harassment (increased from two (2) years).

Experts warn that these new laws “greatly expand the potential for liability for Maryland employers”.

Smaller businesses and organizations that heavily use independent contractors are expected to be most impacted by these changes.

For more details about how Maryland employers should prepare for these harassment law changes, please click here.

The information included in this blog post originally appeared in an article from JD Supra on August 5, 2019 written by Adam Konstas of Pessin Katz Law, P.A.

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