On October 1, 2018, multiple new employment laws went into effect in Maryland.
The General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act extends the protection of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (MWPCL) to employees of subcontractors by making general contractors liable for a subcontractor’s violations of the MWPCL. Importantly, the new law applies to all subcontractors under the general contractor, whether they were hired directly by the general contractor, or by another subcontractor under the general contractor. Under the MWPCL, general contractors under the new wage law can be liable for up to three times the unpaid wages, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
The Maryland Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018 aims to better protect employees from workplace sexual harassment. The new Act, which was addressed in detail in a previous blog post, prohibits employers from requiring employees to enter into any agreement that waives any “substantive or procedural right or remedy” to a future sexual harassment claim.
Accordingly, any employment agreement that requires arbitration of future sexual harassment claims is invalid under the Act. It also prohibits an employer from taking an adverse action, such as discharge, suspension, demotion, discrimination or retaliation, because the employee refuses to enter into such an agreement.
Finally, beginning July 1, 2020, the Act requires each employer with 50 or more employees to submit a survey response to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) setting forth the following:
The MCCR will collect and compile the data and make it publicly available on its website.
In addition, another new law requires all Maryland state employees to complete two cumulative hours of sexual harassment training on state and federal sexual harassment laws. Supervisors are also required to complete training on responding to complaints of sexual harassment.
Two other laws create new protections for new parents employed by the State of Maryland. The first law creates new protections for nursing mothers employed by the state. Under the new “nursing break” law, Maryland is required to provide nursing mothers with a reasonable break time to express breast milk for a nursing child after the child’s birth each time the employee needs to express the milk. The law also requires that Maryland, on notice, provide nursing mothers a place to express milk, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from coworkers.
Under the new parental leave law, Maryland is required to provide its executive branch employees, who are the primary caregiver of the child, paid parental leave. The new law permits those employees to take up to sixty days of paid leave upon the birth of the child. Employees that utilize leave under the new law “may” use annual or paid leave to meet the sixty-day requirement. If the employee does not have enough paid or annual leave, then the State must provide additional paid leave to meet the sixty-day total.
These new laws provide important protections to employees in Maryland. If you are seeking advice, assistance and representation in an employment case, the attorneys at Lebau & Neuworth are experienced in handling cases for unpaid wages, harassment and all other types of employment claims, so we may be able to help you. Contact Lebau & Neuworth at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.