Prince George’s County Sexual Harassment Attorney Is in Your Corner
Prince George’s County has a proud history. In 1791, the county provided the land necessary to build most of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Many battles of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 were fought here, and we are the home of Fort Washington, the only permanent fortification built on the Potomac River to defend the nation’s capital against a river approach.
Yes, Prince George’s County has seen its share of battles, but one battle that persists to this day is the one against sexual harassment in the workplace. Fortunately, the state of Maryland has a number of laws in place to combat this reprehensible practice.
If you require help from a trusted Prince George’s County sexual harassment lawyer, reach out to the proven attorney at Smithey Law Group LLC.
Maryland Sexual Harassment Laws
Sexual harassment laws have been on the books since the 1960s. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 703 of Title VII, established guidelines to protect against requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and sexual verbal or physical contact in the workplace. These actions are considered particularly egregious if:
- such contact interfered with an individual’s work environment (by making it hostile),
- the rejection or acceptance of the sexual advance was the basis for advancement or demotion, or
- if the acceptance of such an advance was a condition of employment.
On October 1, 2018, Maryland’s Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act became law. This act required employers with at least 50 employees to report certain information regarding sexual harassment settlements to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights before July 1, 2020. The act also prohibits Maryland employers from using in any form of employment contract, agreement, or from implementing any policy, that attempts to waive someone’s right to file a sexual harassment claim. The Act states that no employee shall suffer adverse effects in employment if they refuse to sign any such contract. Should an employee need to defend themselves against the enforcement of such an illegal contract, the employee is entitled to be compensated for any costs and attorney’s fees.
A year later, on October 1, 2019, amendments to Maryland’s Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) went into effect. Here are some of the changes that were made.
- Employers can now be held liable if a sexual harassment claim is made against one of their supervisors.
- The statute of limitations that dictates how long an employee has to file a claim was extended from 6 months to 2 years.
- Now, a company no longer has to have 15 employees in order to be subject to FEPA rules and regulations. A company now only needs 1 employee to be subject to FEPA rules.
- The definition of “employee” for the purposes of sexual harassment protections now extends to independent contractors.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
Despite Maryland’s attempt to fight and end sexual harassment in the workplace, we all know that it does still happen. Unfortunately, many employers and employees are still uncertain as to what actions constitute such harassment. As a result of this confusion, many victims are still hesitant to speak up. In the interest of clarifying any confusion, here are a few examples of conduct that clearly falls within the definition of sexual harassment:
- Suggestive or obscene remarks, jokes, or comments about the traits of any gender
- Written or verbal propositions that are unwelcome, unsolicited, and unwanted
- Circulating or displaying sexually suggestive material that is demeaning or displays hostility toward any gender
- Physical, verbal, or non-verbal harassments or advances
- Complimenting an employee’s appearance repeatedly
- Unwanted gifts that are of a romantic or sexual nature
- Unwanted touching or hugs
- Questions about another employee’s sex life, or commenting about yours in front of an employee
- Making comments about someone’s attractiveness in front of another employee
These examples apply to any form of communication including emails, voice mail, telephone calls, texts, or any other electronic communication.
When You Need to Assert Your Rights, Our Reliable Sexual Harassment Attorney Are Here for You
If you feel uncomfortable with a situation that has arisen in your work environment and is not sure whether or not the circumstances amount to sexual harassment, come and speak with us. The dedicated Prince George’s county sexual harassment lawyer at the Smithey Law Group LLC knows how to ask the right questions and assess your particular set of facts to determine whether you have a proper cause of action for sexual harassment.
Our Prince George’s county sexual harassment attorney understands the sensitive nature of this problem and has years of experience that can help you find your voice and exercise your rights according to the law. So call us now, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.