02 Jul

June 2020 Maryland HR Legal Updates

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Maryland Employers with 50+ Employees Must Submit Sexual Harassment Survey by July 1, 2020

What happened?
Pursuant of the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018, employers in Maryland with 50 or more employees must complete a survey and submit it to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights on or before July 1, 2020.

What are the details?
The Act requires employers to fill out the survey, which will include the following information:

  1. The number of settlements made by or on behalf of the employer after an allegation of sexual harassment by an employee;
  2. The number of times the employer has paid a settlement to resolve a sexual harassment allegation against the same employee over the past 10 years of employment; and
  3. The number of settlements made after an allegation of sexual harassment that included a provision requiring both parties to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.

If there is an answer for Question 2, employers must also answer a follow-up question:

  • Whether the employer took personnel action against an employee who was the subject of a settlement.

After his initial report employers will be required to fill out the survey every other year. The information will be kept confidential.

The Act can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers with 50 or more employees in Maryland should fill out the survey as soon as possible. Keeping proper documentation will allow for employers to fill out the future surveys easier.

Summary of State Laws (Q1 & Q2 2020)

Criminal Background
Effective January 1, 2020, employers with 15 or more full-time employees are prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose whether they have a criminal record or have had criminal accusations brought against them before the first in-person interview and/or retaliating or discriminating against an applicant or employee for claiming a violation of the law.

Employers can inquire about an applicant’s criminal background during the first in-person interview. This law does not prohibit employers from making an inquiry if required or expressly authorized by federal or state law, nor does it apply to employers that provide programs, services, or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults.

Sexual Harassment Settlement Reporting
On or before July 1, 2020, Maryland employers with 50 or more employees must report the following information to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights:

  • The number of settlements made by or on behalf of the employer after an allegation of sexual harassment by an employee
  • The number of times the employer has paid a settlement to resolve a sexual harassment allegation against the same employee over the past 10 years of employment
  • The number of settlements made after an allegation of sexual harassment that included a provision requiring both parties to keep the terms of the settlement confidential

A second report is due on or before July 1, 2022.

Hair Discrimination
Effective October 1, 2020, an amendment to the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act provides that race discrimination includes discrimination based on traits associated with race, including hair texture, afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles such as braids, locs, and twists.

Salary History
Effective October 1, 2020, employers must provide job applicants with a wage range for their potential position upon request. In addition, employers may not take adverse action against applicants for not providing a wage history or rely on an applicant’s wage history in considering the applicant for employment or in determining the applicant’s wages.

However, after an initial offer of employment with a compensation offer has been made to an applicant, an employer may confirm and rely on voluntarily provided wage history to support a wage offer higher than initially offered, as long as the higher wage does not create an unlawful pay differential based on sex or gender identity.

Salary Disclosure
Effective October 1, 2020, employers may not take adverse action against employees for inquiring about their own wages.

WARN
Effective October 1, 2020, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide written notice at least 60 days prior to the relocation of a part of an employer’s operation from one workplace to

another existing or proposed site or the shutting down of a workplace or a portion of the operations of a workplace that reduces the number of employees by at least 25% or 15 employees, whichever is greater, over any three-month period.

Employers must also provide continuation of benefits to affected employees.

Paid Sick Leave
Effective October 1, 2020, the definition of a family member for paid sick leave purposes has been expanded to include a legal ward of the employee and a legal guardian or ward of the employee’s spouse.

Facial Recognition
Effective October 1, 2020, an employer may not use a facial recognition service for the purpose of creating a facial template during a job applicant’s employment interview unless the applicant provides consent.

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