The Law Firm of Stephen S. Burgoon



Frederick Maryland Employment Law Blog

How harassment cases impact smaller organizations

The #MeToo movement has inspired many people to stand up against co-workers that have committed acts of harassment or discrimination. As a result, both businesses and the state of Maryland have been changing their policies to combat harassment and improve their work environments.

When a company has an employee that faces harassment allegations, it impacts how the public and their own workers perceive them. Without a proper HR team and little experience on handling the matter, small or nonprofit organizations can have an especially difficult time responding to and recovering from these allegations. An example of this can be found in recent allegations towards Maryland performing arts groups that was covered by the Baltimore Sun.

Maryland's governor signs bills addressing sexual harassment

Maryland continues to make a stronger move toward combating sexual harassment in the workplace as Gov. Larry Hogan recently signed into law two acts - one that addresses sexual harassment matters within the state's General Assembly, and the other focused on employers with 50 or more workers.

It's another sign that the #MeToo movement continues to make waves across the country and within our culture. Both bills were signed within a week of each other.

Social media changes sexual harassment at work

In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 12,680 complaints of sexual harassment, demonstrating the prevalence sexual harassment in modern workplaces. Our workplaces are not the only hosts of sexual harassment because of social media.

Despite the increase of businesses’ use of social media, courts have given little guidance as to addressing social media sexual harassment claims. It lets employers and employees to decide where the line is drawn.

A woman's willingness to speak up made her workplace safer

A staggering number of women experience sexual harassment and assault each year. Now more than ever, though, survivors are being heard, and their offenders are receiving their due punishments. Fear and shame often prevent a victim or witness from reporting a predator, but the law protects people who speak up.

Maryland lawmakers address sexual harassment within

For the last few months, the #MeToo movement has gradually grown stronger within the Maryland General Assembly, a place not only known for its lawmakers, but also for its longstanding acceptance of sexual harassment among its members.

Female lawmakers, staff members and interns within the General Assembly for years have dealt with awkward, uncomfortable and abusive situations that can only be considered flat-out sexual harassment. Recently, the Maryland House of Delegates took a bolder step to protect its own and send a message to the rest of the state: sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

Fired for pregnancy: handling an unspoken form of discrimination

Although often a joyous time, pregnancy presents an array of challenges for working women. Pregnant women may need more time away from work for doctor's visits or small accommodations to continue working. Sadly, employers often view pregnant employees as a liability. Rather than making simple accommodations, employers chose to terminate the employee or force them to take unpaid leave.

Why Does Reporting Harassment Protect My Rights?

If you’ve been a victim of harassment in the workplace, you may feel alone and stuck, wondering what to do. It is scary to report harassment in the workplace because a fear of the unknown and a need for the money that steady employment brings, but reporting harassment compliant with company policy will protect your rights at work and with the law.

Are You Familiar With Your Employer’s Reporting Policies?

The right to work in a sexual harassment-free environment

Few female workers have the courage to move forward with a complaint about sexual harassment, but the #MeToo movement may have changed things.

At least we hope so. Since launching late last year, #MeToo – with roots in the entertainment industry – has women around the world standing in solidarity to denounce sexual harassment and assault that happened in their lives, including the workplace.

Sexual harassment still haunts Maryland victims

It seems that every day, a new public figure is accused of sexual harassment. On one hand, this is a positive thing-- it indicates that victims of sexual harassment are finally comfortable coming forward, that sexual abusers are being held accountable and that the media is not ignoring the problem. On the other hand, it also means that sexual harassment is still alive and well.

The cases have had an unintended consequence: Many sexual harassment victims once again feel traumatized and emotionally overwhelmed. As demonstrated by a recent article in the Frederick News Post, many Frederick women who have been sexually harassed must now relive their trauma as new allegations stream forward.

Harassment cases highlighting ineffectiveness of HR

One of the main facets of a Human Resources (HR) department is resolving workplace conflict. The HR team works to find ways to keep staff and managers content, while helping to prevent and correct infractions. In theory, you should feel like you can report any problems at work to HR and get help resolving them, but what happens when the HR department is contributing to the problem?

Corporations both large and small have anti harassment policies and workshops to teach employees about how harassment can happen in order to avoid it, yet it persists. The abundance of recent sexual harassment complaints has illustrated the issues with reporting complaints to HR. Complaints are often ignored or not taken seriously.

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