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What do I have to prove in a sexual harassment claim in Maryland?

Sexual harassment is defined by Maryland law as any behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating or hostile environment or that otherwise affects one's ability to perform one's job. It is also defined as a situation in which acceptance or rejection of sexual conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions. Some examples include unnecessary touching, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or crude and demeaning language.

Generally speaking, sexual harassment cases in Maryland are divided into hostile work environment and quid pro quo claims. To prove a hostile work environment sexual harassment case, the claimant must show that unwanted sexual harassment was present in the workplace. It must be proven that this harassment was sufficiently pervasive to create an abusive working environment and that the defendant was aware of the harassment but did not take effective remedial action.

To prove a quid pro quo sexual harassment case, the claimant must show that unwelcome sexual harassment was present in the workplace and that he or she was subject to it. Further proof must be provided that the reaction to the harassment directly affected tangible aspects of his or her job, including but not limited to compensation, privileges, conditions or terms of employment. Finally, it must be shown that the employer knew of the harassment and took no remedial action.

An employment law attorney may be able to help clients get all of their documentation in order and assist with putting together a case. Necessary elements of a case to prove sexual harassment in court may include email or text message paper trails, recordings, witness statements or other such details.

Source: WAGE, "Sexual Harassment", September 08, 2014

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