Maryland Employers Confronted with Additional Liability as a Result of the Newly Enacted Anti-Discrimination Measure


Earlier this year, without a great deal of public attention, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 678/House Bill 314, commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Preservation Act of 2006. In April 2007, the Bill was signed by Governor Martin O'Malley. Despite the lack of public awareness, the new law drastically altered the playing field for litigating employment discrimination cases in the State of Maryland by creating a private cause of action under Article 49B in state court.

To gain a real appreciation of the impact that this change will have on Maryland employers, a basic understanding of the relevant statute in its prior form is necessary. Maryland Article 49B prohibits discrimination in employment. Like Title VII and other federal anti-discrimination statutes, Article 49B precludes discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin and physical or mental handicap.

Unlike Title VII and its related federal statutes, Article 49B also prohibits discrimination on the basis of familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, and genetic testing.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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