Of the many new laws taking effect October 1, there are several that will have a direct impact on small businesses. Among them are:
House Bill 123 – Labor and Employment – Wage History and Wage Range
This law requires an employer to provide to a job applicant, on request, the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied. Further, an employer may not seek or rely on the wage history of an applicant when screening or considering the applicant for employment or determining the wages for the applicant.
If the Commissioner of Labor & Industry, after an investigation, determines an employer has violated this law then the employer is subject to a letter compelling compliance on the first violation and fines ranging from $300 to $600 for subsequent violations.
House Bill 1444 – Discrimination – Definition of Race – Hair Texture and Hairstyles
This law defines “race,” for the purposes of laws prohibiting discrimination, as including traits associated with race which include hair texture, afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles. “Protective hairstyles” are defined as a hairstyle that includes braids, twists, and locks.
House Bill 1018 – Labor and Employment – Economic Stabilization Act – Revisions
This law applies to all employers with 50 or more employees, except employers that have been doing business in Maryland for less than one year. Covered employers conducting a reduction in workforce must provide at least 60 days’ advance written notice to affected employees and a host of other parties, including elected officials in the jurisdiction where the reduction is located.
A “reduction in operations” is defined as either:
- The shutting down of a workplace that reduces the number of employees by at least 25%, or 15 employees, whichever is greater, over any three-month period (those employees working less than an average of 20 hours each week or workers who have worked less than six months are not to be counted in determination); or
- The relocation of part of an employer’s operation from one workplace to another existing or proposed site.
The employer’s written notice must contain certain information including:
- The name and address of the reduced workplace;
- Contact information of supervisors for further information;
- A statement whether the reduction will be permanent or temporary; and
- When the expected reduction will begin.
Failure to abide by the new law may result in a fine of up to $10,000 per day for each day that an employer is in violation.