Earlier this month, Montgomery County, Maryland, passed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act. The new law prohibits discrimination against people who wear natural and protective African-American hairstyles such as Afros, locks, braids and twists. It applies to employment discrimination and also public accommodation discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination "because of sex." Does that include closely related concepts such as gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation?
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent explosion of media coverage on sexual harassment in various workplaces, Maryland's legislature has chosen to respond with new legislation. Effective October 1, 2018, the state's new sexual harassment law precludes employers from limiting any procedural or substantive rights of employees to file claims for sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting harassment in the workplace.
When a New York man was diagnosed with cancer, his biological family couldn't care for him. They were in Malaysia, a world away. However, he did have people to help--his "chosen family." And, because of a recent change to New York law, many of those "chosen family" members were able to take paid sick days in order to provide his care.
In Maryland, most full-time employees who have worked at a company for a year are entitled to unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and Maryland law. These laws typically apply to companies with at least 50 employees, although there are some that apply to organizations with only 15 employees.
On April 9, 2016, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill that enhanced protections for workers across the State. By a 100-36 margin, the House passed a bill that would bar employers from paying employees less on the basis of an employee's sex. In addition, this bill also bars unequal pay on the basis of gender identity. If this bill becomes law, Maryland would be one of the few states to bar unequal pay on the basis of gender identity.
In the face of numerous reports across Maryland about jobless residents being discriminated against during the hiring process, legislators are considering a bill that would stop employers from discriminating against the unemployed. More than 12 states are working to address this issue, according to a Baltimore Sun report.
Months ago in our Greenbelt Employment Law Blog, we discussed how Facebook use may impact your employment in Maryland. Currently, privacy and employment laws are quite vague when it comes to social media use and we suggested that it may be best to be a bit guarded about what you post on Facebook. However, now Maryland lawmakers are working on bills that would limit the ability of employers to glean information about their employees from Facebook.