Maryland transgender rights law takes effect October 1

September 09, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations goes into effect October 1.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act passed the legislature in March and was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in May. It adds “gender identity” to Maryland’s existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. The law is designed to protect any person who has or is perceived by others to have a gender identity or expression that might be considered different or inconsistent with his assigned sex at birth, regardless of whether he self-identifies as transgender.

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Baltimore council votes to ban the box

April 29, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

Employers in Baltimore will face new restrictions in conducting criminal background checks now that the city council has passed a tough new “ban the box” law.

Bill 13-0301, titled “Ban the Box—Fair Criminal Records Screening Practices,” passed the Baltimore City Council on April 28 and was expected to gain Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s signature. It is to go into effect 90 days after adoption.

Going far beyond the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposals on criminal background checks, Baltimore’s new law prohibits most employers from inquiring about applicants’ criminal background before making a conditional offer of employment. The bill’s sponsors claim the restrictions are needed to help Baltimore residents with criminal convictions obtain employment.

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Maryland Legislature passes bill to raise minimum wage to $10.10 by July 1, 2018

April 08, 2014 1 COMMENTS

by David M. Stevens

On the final day of its legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill to dramatically raise the state’s minimum wage. The bill, which was supported by Governor Martin O’Malley and is expected to be signed into law, calls for a staggered increase in the minimum wage over a period of four years, with the final increase due to set the minimum wage at $10.10 effective July 1, 2018.

Employers will first feel the effect of the minimum wage increase on January 1, 2015, and the minimum wage will increase a total of five times under the following schedule:

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Maryland same-sex marriage law goes into effect January 1

December 14, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new law allowing same-sex marriage takes effect January 1, 2013, meaning employers need to understand what changes are in store for the workplace.

The General Assembly passed the law legalizing same-sex marriage that Governor Martin O’Malley signed on March 12, 2012. However, the new law was on hold until Maryland voters decided to uphold it in a referendum held November 6.

Now that the law has been approved, Maryland employers are obligated to apply it in the workplace. Administering benefits to employees in same-sex marriages may be problematic. For example, while the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides certain benefits to spouses, it isn’t clear if spousal benefits will apply to employees in same-sex marriages since the federal Defense of Marriage Act bars such individuals from receiving federal rights or benefits, regardless of whether state benefits are permitted.

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New Maryland Law Restricts Use of Credit Checks

September 20, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By David M. Stevens

During its 2011 legislative session, the Maryland Legislature passed the Job Applicant Fairness Act, which was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on April 12. The law imposes significant restrictions on employers’ ability to perform credit checks on job applicants and employees. It goes into effect October 1.

For many employers, obtaining a credit report on prospective employees has become a routine part of the hiring process. However, the new law will require Maryland employers to reevaluate and in some cases limit use of credit reports.

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