Maryland Sexual Harassment Law. What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual Harassment affects many Maryland employees. Recently, a number of women have come forward in the national news media making allegations of sexual harassment against company executives, political figures and TV personalities. Such allegations are a useful reminder that sexual harassment is prevalent in the Maryland workplace, and can affect Maryland employees at all levels of employment.
What Kinds of Sexual Harassment are Illegal in Maryland?
Sexual Harassment has no place in the Maryland workplace. To deal with this issue, there are several Maryland laws that prohibit different types sexual harassment at work. If you believe you are being sexually harassed, it is important to take immediate steps to protect yourself and your job.
Unlawful Touching Sexual Harassment
The most obvious form of sexual harassment occurs when a coworker, colleague or supervisor touches an employee without his or her consent. In Maryland, touching an employee in an unwanted sexual manner may be per se sexual harassment. Important factors for determining whether the unwanted touching constitutes sexual harassment under Maryland include: the nature of the touching (i.e., sexual in nature); the area of the body where the employee was touches, the length of time and number of instances the employee was touched, and the employment relationship between the two individuals. In addition to being classified as “sexual harassment,” in Maryland such unwanted sexual touching can arise to a tort claim for “assault” or “battery.” Example:
An executive at a Maryland company approaches a female employee sitting at her desk. The executive puts his hands on the employee’s shoulders and rubs her back. The employee tells the executive that she does not want him to touch her shoulders. Despite this, the Maryland executive continues to rub her shoulders or touch the employee in an inappropriate manner. Such action constitutes sexual harassment at the workplace.
What is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment? "Favor for a Favor" Harassment.
Although not as obvious as “unlawful touching sexual harassment,” quid pro quo sexual harassment or “a favor for a favor” is an invidious form of sexual harassment that occurs at many Maryland companies. Favor for a favor sexual harassment generally happens when an executive, boss or supervisor at a Maryland company promises career advancement or other employment benefits to an employee if she acquiesces to sexual conduct. At this point, the employee faces the terrible decision of choosing between her career, her ambitions and her success or her dignity and personal autonomy.
Favor for a favor sexual harassment is especially concerning because it often involves high powered Maryland executives, businessmen and public figures exerting influence over lower ranking businesswomen for the purpose of obtaining sexual favors. Example:
A Vice President at a Maryland company assigns a junior female executive to work with him on a project. During the course of their interactions, the Vice President tells the junior female executive that he can put in a good word for her promotion. The Vice President then asks the female executive on a date. When she declines, the Vice President refuses to recommend her for a promotion. In Maryland, this may constitute “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.
Top Chevy Chase-Bethesda Employment Attorney DK Associates, LLC will Fight for Your Sexual Harassment Case
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in Maryland, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. If an employee feels that she has been the victim of sexual harassment, it is critical that she follow correct procedures in reporting the harassment to the company and/or Maryland agencies. In addition, sexual harassment claims are subject to filing deadlines that must be met in order to protect an employee’s rights under the law.
As a Chevy Chase, Maryland law firm, DK Associates has represented many Maryland women, from junior employees to executives, in sexual harassment cases against Maryland companies. Chevy Chase and Bethesda, Maryland are home to many of Maryland’s top financial and contracting companies. DK Associates is uniquely situated to represent your interests if you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment.