Maryland Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Maryland Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-606 et seq.). Sexual harassment is generally included in this definition. The Act applies to all public employers and private employers of 15 or more persons.
Interns. Effective October 1, 2015, employers may not discriminate against unpaid interns on the basis of any of the protected characteristics (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-610).
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Gender identity. Gender identity means the gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of a person regardless of the person's assigned sex at birth (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-101). Under FEPA, gender identity may be demonstrated by:
• Consistent and uniform assertion of the person's gender identity; or
• Any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of the person's core identity.
Sexual orientation defined. “Sexual orientation” is defined by the Act as identification of an individual as either male or female homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual.
Definition of supervisor. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an alleged harasser was a supervisor even though he did not have the authority to fire, promote, demote, or otherwise make decisions that had an economic effect on the employee (Whitten v. Fred's, Inc., 601 F. 3d 231 (4th Cir. 2010)). The court reversed the lower court's ruling, which equated supervisory status with the ability to take tangible employment actions. According to the court, the determining factor is whether the relationship to the alleged victim could constitute a continuing threat to her employment conditions and make her ...

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