We wanted to take a look at the trend around #MeToo laws as part of our role in keeping ahead of the background check/employment screening curve and look beyond into the larger context of employment and the workplace. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
In reaction to a litany of high-profile scandals, Maryland has joined a growing number of states in enacting legislation intended to prevent employers from sheltering perpetrators of sexual harassment. Approved by Governor Larry Hogan on May 15, 2018, the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018 (DSHWA) purports to ban employment contracts requiring sexual harassment claims to be resolved through private arbitration. It also mandates that large employers report certain information about sexual harassment settlements to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, which in turn can make some of that information available to the public. Hampered by weak enforcement provisions and faced with a potential preemption challenge, however, DSHWA may not have a significant impact on current employer strategies for avoiding and managing sexual harassment claims.
Ban on Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims
DSHWA declares that, except as prohibited by federal law, any provision of an employment contract, policy, or agreement that waives a substantive or procedural right or remedy to a claim for sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting or asserting a right or remedy based on sexual harassment shall be null and void as against public policy of Maryland. The law applies to contracts and policies executed, implicitly or explicitly extended, or renewed on or after October 1, 2018.