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Maryland Amends Multiple Statutes Relating to Prohibitions Against Discrimination Based on Protected Characteristics and Reproductive Freedom 

18 Jun

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers with at least 1 worker who performs work, at least in part, in the stateProvisions regarding Chapter 244:

Rest of provisions:
October 1, 2024

What happened?

On April 25, 2024, Governor Wes Moore signed HB 1397, which alters numerous statutory provisions that prohibit discrimination based on certain protected characteristics to include sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religious beliefs, marital status, and disability. This makes certain protected characteristics consistent across multiple statutes.

What are the details?

Key Bites

  • The bill expands the list of protected characteristics in numerous statutes that prohibit discrimination, including sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religious beliefs, marital status, and disability. Employers will need to ensure their policies and practices are in line with these expanded protections.
  • The bill replaces references of “gender” to “sex” in multiple statutes. Employers may need to update their policies and documents to reflect this change in terminology.
  • Employers should be prepared for potential increases in complaints and ensure they have procedures in place to manage them effectively.
  • The bill could have a potentially meaningful effect on small businesses, in particular, who may need to review their current practices and make necessary adjustments to comply with the new law.
  • Specifically, to employment, the bill makes changes to Maryland Labor and Employment, Title 3 – Employment Standards and Conditions, Subtitle 3, Section 304, and Subtitle 3, Section 307.
  • In State Finance and Procurement, nondiscrimination clauses must prohibit discrimination in any manner by the contractor against an employee or applicant. There is an express form and verbiage of the clause.
  • This also complements the amendment and obligations from the Pay Transparency law (HB 602), which will be covered in a separate update.

Business Considerations

  • Employers should review their current policies and practices to ensure they comply with the expanded protections.
  • Employers should communicate and provide training to their employees, especially managers, supervisors, and HR personnel, on the new protections and changes.
  • Employers should have procedures in place to manage complaints effectively, including providing a safe and confidential way to report potential violations.
  • Employers should also adhere to the new pay transparency requirements, in which they will be required to disclose wage ranges and a general description of benefits, and any other compensation offered on any public or internal posting for a position for work that will be physically performed, at least in part, in Maryland.
  • Employers should seek legal advice to ensure full compliance with the law.

Source References


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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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