May 07, 2020

On Top of Everything Else: Maryland Employers Face New Employment Laws

On May 7th, Governor Hogan published a list of bills that were passed during the 2020 session of the Maryland General Assembly that will take effect without his signature. Most will take effect October 1, 2020.  A dozen, give or take, are employment-related.  Here are highlights of a few.

  •  HB 123 – Wage History and Wage Range. An employer may not seek the wage history of an applicant until after an initial offer of employee and then, only conditionally. Upon request, an employer must provide an applicant with the wage range for the position for which the applicant has applied.
  •  HB 880 – Healthy Working Families Act – Family Member – Definition. The definition of family member was expanded to include a legal ward of the employee, a legal ward of the employee’s spouse, and a legal guardian of the employee’s spouse.
  •  HB 1202 – Use of Facial Recognition Services – Prohibition. A covered employer may not use this service for interviewing purposes where the service creates a facial template without the applicant’s consent. An applicant may give consent in writing that includes four (4) pieces of information.
  •  HB 1444 – Discrimination – Definition of Race – Hair Texture and Hairstyles. Maryland’s prohibition against race discrimination is expanded to include in the definition of race, “hair texture, afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles (braids, twists and locks).
  •  SB 780 – Economic Stabilization Act – Requires employers that employ at least 50 employees (excluding those that work fewer than 20 hours/week or those that have worked fewer than six months in the last 12) to provide a detailed written notice at least 60 days in advance of a reduction in operations (a relocation or reduction in the number of employees by at least 25% or 15 employees, whichever is greater) over any three-month period. Requires Maryland’s Department of Labor to issue implementing regulations.

One or more similar laws are already in place in some local jurisdictions within Maryland. Employers should become familiar with the requirements of each law, state and local, to determine if they are a covered employer. If you are a covered employer, consider how you will need to modify your employment practices, forms, notices and policies.