Maryland Harassment Disclosure Law Update
September 26, 2018
Cottingham & Butler has obtained information regarding the Maryland’s Sexual Harassment Disclosure Law that takes effect on October 1, 2018 and wishes to provide its clients with the following update.
Effective October 1, 2018, the new law invalidates any employment contract or policy that waives an employee’s right to sue in court for sexual harassment or retaliation. The act also requires employers with at least 50 employees to complete a survey disclosing the number of sexual harassment settlements in which the employer has entered.
The act specifies that, effective October 1:
- Except as prohibited by federal law, any provision in an employment contract, policy, or agreement that waives any “substantive or procedural right or remedy to a claim that accrues in the future of sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting or asserting a right or remedy based on sexual harassment” is null and void.
- Employers may not discharge, suspend, demote, discriminate against or otherwise retaliate against an employee who refuses or fails to enter into an agreement that contains a waiver that is void under the act.
- An employer who enforces or attempts to enforce a provision that violates the act will be liable for the employee’s reasonable attorney fees and costs.
On or before July 1, 2020, and on or before July 1, 2022, an employer with 50 or more employees must electronically submit a short survey to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights that provides the following:
- Number of settlements made by or on behalf of the employer after an employee’s allegation of sexual harassment.
- 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.
- 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.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
Maryland employers with more than 50 employees, whether in or outside the state of Maryland, should begin tracking sexual harassment settlements and compiling information on past settlements to prepare for the 2020 and 2022 surveys. Employers should also review and revise current policies on sexual harassment with legal counsel as needed and conduct sexual harassment training for all employees
Please be advised that Cottingham & Butler does not engage in the practice of law and that information provided is not intended to be construed as legal or tax advice.
CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS
Cottingham & Butler is prepared to assist you through this process. If you have any questions, please contact your Cottingham & Butler representative.
Tags: Employee Benefits