On October 1, 2018, several new employment laws take effect in Maryland. A previous blog post addressed new general contractor liability for its subcontractors’ failure to pay the subcontractors’ own employees. Under the new law, subcontractors’ employees can sue not only the subcontractor for wage claims, but also the general contractor, who likely has no knowledge of or control over the subcontractors’ pay practices. The general contractor can be jointly and severally liable for the full amount of any recovery, which can include treble damages and attorneys’ fees.
The Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018, also written about in a prior blog post, goes into effect and adds two requirements to current Maryland employment law. First, the Act declares that any provision in an employment contract or policy that waives any right or remedy to a claim of sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting sexual harassment that accrues in the future is void as against public policy. Second, it requires employers with over fifty employees to submit to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, on July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2022, the following information: (a) number of settlements made after an allegation of sexual harassment; (b) number of times the employer paid to settle a sexual harassment claim against the same employee over a ten year period; and (c) the number of sexual harassment settlements containing a confidentiality provision.
In addition to the new laws mentioned above, the following laws are also slated to go into effect:
- The State is now required to provide new mothers reasonable break time to breast-feed and, upon notice, to provide mothers a private place, other than a bathroom, for doing so. The State, however, does not have to compensate employees for the time they spend breast-feeding their children.
- The State is also required to provide its executive branch employees (except temporary employees) paid parental leave. The new law applies to those employees who are the primary caregiver of the child, and permits those employees to take up to sixty days of paid leave upon the birth of the child. The law provides that the employee “may” use annual or paid leave to meet the sixty-day requirement and, in the event that the annual or paid leave is not enough, then the State must provide additional paid leave to meet the sixty-day total.
- Each State employee (all branches) is now required to complete two cumulative hours of sexual harassment training, which includes training on state and federal sexual harassment laws, best practices in prevention and correction of sexual harassment, abusive conduct and retaliation, and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. Furthermore, supervisors are required to complete training on responding to complaints of sexual harassment, preventing further abuse, and workplace culture.
- Finally, the requirements for jockeys to be covered by the Maryland Jockey Injury Compensation Fund have been altered. In addition to jockeys engaged in live thoroughbred racing, covered jockeys also include those jockeys who are training horses but only if the principal earnings of the jockey are based on live racing and not as an exercise rider.