Maryland Employment Laws are Enhanced
Maryland Enhances Workers’ Rights to a Nonviolent Workplace
Maryland Employment Laws are designed to protect workers in Maryland. As an employee, you have significant rights that can be vindicated by your local and state labor department and in a court of law. Among those rights are the right to a workplace that is free of violence, coercion, and threats from your fellow employees. If you think your rights to a nonviolent workplace have been violated, or if you think ANY of your rights have been violated, you should seek the advice and counsel of experienced employee rights attorneys like those at Herrmann Law.
Employee rights advocates have been seeking to enhance the protections of workers from workplace violence. For example, in Maryland, for decades, efforts have been made to obtain passage of a law that would specifically protect workers against workplace violence. Finally, earlier in 2021, Maryland enacted the Workplace Violence Act (“WVA”) and it took effect in October.
The WVA gives employers a new tool to protect victims of violence from other workers (aside from discipline and termination of the offender). Under the WVA, employers can seek what is called a “Peace Order” from the local Maryland court. A Peace Order is similar to the more-familiar Protective Orders and/or Restraining Orders that can be issued in domestic violence cases or when a person is subject to stalking. A Peace Order protects victims of violence directly, but starting in October 2023, victims will have indirect protection, too. Starting in 2023, employers can be sued and held liable for money damages in a legal proceedings for refusing or failing to obtain a Peace Order under required circumstances.
Fortunately for victims, the WVA defines “violence” very broadly. Under the WVA, “violence” includes what is commonly thought of as physical “violence,” but also protects against emotion-based and mental violence like revenge pornography, harassment and the misuse of telephones and computers for criminal spying on other employees. Employers can seek a Peace Order under the WVA for any of those acts and also the following:
- Physical violence causing serious bodily harm
- Acts or behavior that puts one employee in fear of serious imminent bodily harm from another employee — often legally identified as “assault”
- Any form of battery (wrongful touching against another like a punch or thrown object)
- False imprisonment
- Malicious destruction of another employee’s property
As noted, a Peace Order may be obtained from Maryland county courts. The Peace Order is obtained by the employer on behalf of the victim.
Procedurally, an employer must seek the Peace Order within 30 days of the incident or after becoming aware of the incident. Further, Maryland employers must notify the victim employee before seeking the Peace Order. As a protection for victims of workplace violence, victims are not required under the WVA to provide information or testify at a peace order proceeding. Employers also cannot retaliate against a victim if they choose to exercise their rights to not provide information or testify.
Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today
For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.