Friday, April 28, 2006

Anti-Discrimination Protections Vary By County

In four Maryland counties (Prince George's, Montgomery, Howard, and Baltimore County), a Maryland employee can file a lawsuit alleging a violation of a local civil rights ordinance. These local ordinances allow greater potential damages than their federal counter-parts and offer broader protections. For example, the Montgomery County Code prohibits discrimination in employment based on an individual's "family responsibilities" and contains no cap on compensatory and punitive damages. Federal law offers no protection for family responsibilities and caps damages.

Employees in the select counties enjoy greater protection than employees who work in the Maryland's other twenty counties. A bill that would have authorized a private right of action for violation of local law in all Maryland counties failed to pass in the General Assembly.