Thursday, August 09, 2012

Harassed at Work in Maryland? Here are a few things to consider.

Not all harassment is legally actionable.  "Harassment" in the common sense of the work can range from perceived slights to outright physical abuse.  While you may being treated unfairly, there may no legal avenues for relief.  It is in the nature of the word "harassment" that it can describe varying levels of conduct.

But some workplace harassment is actionable.  You should contact an attorney for help when you believe you are being subject to any sort of conduct that approaches anywhere near the level of actionable harassment.  

Harassment based on a protected category, like age, race, gender, etc., may be actionable.  The EEOC defines such actionable harassment as: 

Unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive."

Certain severe harassment may also make you eligible for an immediate peace or protective order from the District Court of Maryland or a Commissioner.

If you are facing harassment (even the non-actionable type), should you quit?  I have previously discussed this exact question.   Your decision has legal implications (as an example, quitting could have an affect on your eligibility for unemployment benefits).  Your decision has life implications. You should consult the people you trust (an possibly consult counsel).  The answer is that there is no easy answer.  

Friday, August 03, 2012

EEOC Wins Maryland Jury Verdict of $350,000 for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Victims

In Baltimore, the EEOC won a recent jury trial on behalf of three employee accusing their bosses of sexual harassment and retaliation.    Lind Luz was the lead plaintiff.  She was the receptionist in a physician's office.   After Ms. Luz repeatedly rejected the advances of the physician CEO  and the CFO, the practice began retaliating against her by issuing to her unwarranted  discipline and rescinding approved leave, which eventually culminated in her  retaliatory termination.   The CEO and CFO sexually harassed two other employees, a nurse and a study coordinator.  The jury  returned a verdict finding  that three women were entitled to compensatory damages in amounts ranging  from $4,000 to $10,000, and awarded each claimant punitive damages in the amount of $110,000.

You, Too, Can Apply to be the Secretary of Labor for the State of Maryland

I happened to come across the job announcement for the position of "Secretary - Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation. [DLLR]"   Essential job function number 1 is:  "Ensures effective enforcement of workplace safety and wage laws to provide critical safeguards to Maryland workers and communities."  The DLLR has a broad mission.  So in addition to enforcing our State's wage laws, the candidate must also be prepared to provide "executive direction for the Maryland Racing Commission and the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board."