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Maryland Amends Multiple Statutes Relating to Prohibitions Against Discrimination Based on Military Status 

18 Jun

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All covered employersOctober 1, 2024

What happened?

On April 25, 2024, Governor Wes Moore signed HB 598, which prohibits discrimination based on military status in various areas

What are the details?

Maryland has expanded its antidiscrimination law to cover military status, which includes members of the uniformed services, reservists, and their dependents. This law is more comprehensive than USERRA and applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and to all employers in cases of harassment.

Key points of the bill include:

  • Prohibits discrimination based on military status regarding public accommodation, housing, employment, financial transactions, education, insurance, the provision of public utility services, and State personnel actions.
  • Military status” is defined as the status of being a member of the uniformed services, a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States, or a dependent.
  • Incorporates “military status” into numerous provisions of the statute that prohibit discrimination regarding housing and employment on the grounds of specified bases (e.g., race, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Does not require an employer to give preferential treatment.
  • Does not prohibit an employer from hiring any individual based on a certain characteristic if it is a bona fide occupational qualifier reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business.
  • Does not prohibit an employer from establishing and requiring an employee to adhere to a reasonable workplace appearance (grooming and dress code).

Business Considerations

  • Employers should update their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy, and any other policies that include protected classes, to include military status, if it is not included already.
  • Employers should ensure that they do not discriminate against individuals based on their military status during hiring or employment.
  • Employers should provide additional training to HR personnel and management to understand new protections.
  • Employers should be aware of the potential legal consequences, including fines, penalties, and damages, for violating the law.
  • Employers should consider the need to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with military status.

Source References

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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