Employment Law Alert – Maryland Employers, Have you Submitted your Sexual Harassment Disclosure Survey?
June 30, 2020
On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018 (the “Act”). The Act, which went into effect on October 1, 2018, prohibits employers, regardless of size, from requiring employees enter into mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment or retaliation claims. Additionally, employers with 50 or more employees must submit survey responses to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (“MCCR”) on or before July 1, 2020 and again by July 1, 2022, where they will be required to report information about sexual harassment settlements. For additional information on the Act, see our previous alerts from June 2018 and September 2018.
Survey Responses Due July 1, 2020
The Act requires each employer in the state of Maryland with 50 or more employees to electronically submit to the MCCR answers to a survey on:
- The number of settlements made by or on behalf of the employer after an allegation of sexual harassment by an employee;
- The number of times the employer has paid a settlement to resolve a sexual harassment allegation against the same employee over the past 10 years of employment; and
- The number of settlements made after an allegation of sexual harassment that included a provision requiring both parties to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.
If an answer provided to the second question above is greater than zero, employers will be asked to answer the following question:
- Whether the employer took personnel action against an employee who was the subject of a settlement.
The survey is now live on the MCCR website and responses must be submitted on or before July 1, 2020. In order for responses to be final, employers must electronically sign their responses at the end of the survey.*
The consequences for noncompliance are not clear as the Act does not specify any penalties or enforcement mechanisms for the failure to comply with the mandatory reporting requirements.
After the reporting period concludes, the MCCR will publish and make accessible to the public the aggregate number of responses from employers for each question and, upon request, the MCCR will provide the response of a specific employer revealing the number of settlements reported in the survey.
On or before December 15 of each reporting years (2020 and 2022), MCCR will review a random selection of the surveys submitted; create an executive summary of the selected surveys, redacting any identifying information for specific employers; and submit the executive summary to the Governor and the Senate Finance Committee and the house Economic Matters Committee.
The reporting requirement under Section 2 of the Act will remain in effect until June 30, 2023, barring any action by the Maryland General Assembly making this requirement a permanent obligation for employers in Maryland.
*Responses submitted for this survey will not be used for the July 1, 2022 reporting period. Therefore, employers must submit another report in two years on or before July 1, 2022.
The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group.