The Montgomery County Council recently enacted a law that greatly expands the legal designations of the terms “harassment” and “sexual harassment” used in the County’s anti-discrimination law. This is an important change for employees in Montgomery County because it reflects that harassment comes in all forms and that prior definitions were far too restrictive.
The expanded definitions increase the protection given to employees against workplace harassment and sexual harassment by lowering the standard required to prove both. Previously, to prove harassment and/or sexual harassment under Montgomery County’s law, an employee was required to meet a very high standard of evidence, known as “severe and pervasive,” that was a very difficult standard to deomstrate.
Under the new legislation, workplace harassment is actionable if it is “more than a petty slight, trivial inconvenience, or minor annoyance.” Sexual harassment is similarly defined, but focuses on sexual conduct, such as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”
Lebau & Neuworth strongly believes that more counties should follow the lead of Montgomery County and even the State of Maryland. To this point, far too many workers have been harmed by harrassment in the workplace.
Lebau & Neuworth are zealous and tireless advocates for workers. If you have been subjected to workplace harassment or sexual harassment, call us at 888-456-2529 or email us at lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.