In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law the Maryland Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018, which aims to better protect employees from workplace sexual harassment.
The new Act 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, so any employment agreement containing a requirement that a future sexual harassment claim will be arbitrated is invalid under the Act. It also prohibits an employer from taking an adverse action (which includes discharge, suspension, demotion, discrimination or retaliation) because the employee refuses to enter into such an agreement.
The Act further includes a reporting requirement for sexual harassment claims. Starting July 1, 2020, each employer with 50 or more employees must 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 them publicly available on its website the aggregate number of responses for each subsection above. The publicly available data are intended to hold employers more accountable for addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Act will take effect on October 1, 2018 -- but you do not need to wait if you are or have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. You already have plenty of protections under the current law to make your employer accountable, so please contact Lebau & Neuworth at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.