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30 Oct

October 2020 Maryland HR Legal Updates

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Montgomery County Lowers Standard for Proving Harassment in the Workplace

What happened?
On October 6, 2020, the County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland voted to significantly revise its human rights law as it relates to workplace harassment.

What are the details?
Bill 14-20 was signed into law on October 16, 2020. The bill amendments would change the existing “severe or pervasive” standard that normally applies under federal law. Instead the text now will read: “ a reasonable victim of discrimination would consider the conduct to be more than a petty slight, trivial inconvenience, or minor annoyance.” Additionally, the victim will need to also prove one of the following criteria:

  • That “submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment”
  • “submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual” or
  • “The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating a working environment that is perceived by the victim to be abusive or hostile.”

Bill 14-20 will be effective January 15, 2021.

Bill 14-20 can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Maryland employers should look to update their anti-harassment and workplace bullying policies.