What is discrimination in hiring and promotion?
Discrimination in hiring and promotion occurs when employers recruit, hire, and promote employees differently based on their sex alone.
Does the state of Maryland prohibit discrimination in hiring and promotion
Yes. In addition to the federal laws that prohibit discriminatory hiring and promotion, the Maryland Human Rights Commission (MHRC) section on Illegal Employment Practices forbids discrimination in hiring and promotion.
Even though the state of Maryland provides this extra protection against discrimination to employees and job applicants, there has never been a case about sex discrimination in hiring and promotion brought under the Maryland law. Most sex discrimination cases seem to be brought under federal law.
To find out about federal law dealing with discrimination in hiring and promotion, see Federal Discrimination Laws on Hiring and Promotion.
Future cases dealing with discriminatory hiring and promotion can be brought under Maryland law however, and an overview of this law is below.
What is an illegal way of hiring or promoting employees under Maryland law?
The Maryland Human Rights Commission section on Illegal Employment Practices states that it is illegal to refuse to hire someone because of their sex. It states "It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire ... any individual ...because of such individual's ... sex
It is also illegal to refuse to promote or deprive someone of employment opportunities because of their sex. An employer may not divide up the workforce or be biased in such a way that would deny women the opportunity to move ahead in the workplace.
What are some examples of discrimination in hiring or promotion?
Even though there have not been cases brought under Maryland law dealing with discrimination in hiring and promotion, these are some likely examples of what would be considered discrimination in hiring and promotion:
Who enforces Maryland discrimination in hiring and promotion law?
The Maryland Commission on Human Relations (MCHR) enforces state laws dealing with discrimination in employment, including sex discrimination in hiring and promotion.
Does it matter when I suffered discrimination in hiring or promotion?
The claim must be filed with the MCHR within six months of the date that the last discriminatory act or event at issue took place.
Keep in mind that if you wait longer than six months, your charge will be invalid. For that reason it is important that you file your charge with the MCHR as soon as you suspect discrimination.
What must I prove to win my case?
Although there have not been cases brought under Maryland law dealing with sex discrimination in hiring and promotion; there have been cases dealing with race discrimination. Because Maryland's Illegal Employment Practices applies to both sex and race discrimination, the evidence to prove the case would likely be the same.
The 2002 Maryland case Wise v. Gallagher Basset Services sets out the requirements needed to prove a discriminatory hiring or promotion case:
The job applicant must show she applied for the job, she was qualified for the job, and she may not have been accepted because of unlawful discrimination.
How do I show I was qualified?
One way is to think about the tasks or skills necessary for the job, and make a case for why you are able to perform the tasks needed. Some employers even have a policy you can look at that describes what the job requirements are.
To meet the criteria, you do not have to show that you were the most qualified, only that you were qualified.
What happens after I meet these requirements?
After the four requirements are met, it is then up to the employer to prove that he did not discriminate. The employer might argue that you were not qualified or give some other legal reason he did not hire you. The employer has to give an allowable reason explaining why you were not hired or promoted.
In the case Wise v. Fallagher Basset Services, for example, the employer explained the reason he did not hire the applicant was because she had poor interpersonal skills, less work achievement, and had a worse interview compared to the others who were being considered for the job. The court accepted these defenses.
How do I respond to these denials?
You could respond to the employer by either proving you were more qualified for the job than the person chosen or by showing the employer did not base his decision on qualifications, but on something else.
Be sure to keep detailed records of anything the employer says or does that might indicate discrimination, when it occurred, and under what circumstances. Also, think about who else may have witnessed discriminatory remarks or other indications that the employer was discriminating.
If I prove discrimination in hiring or promotion, what kind of remedies am I entitled to?
Maryland Law provides remedies for discrimination in hiring or promotion. If discrimination in hiring or promotion is found, the court may order: the employer to stop the discrimination, the actual hiring, and other remedies monetary or otherwise the court feels is appropriate.
How do I go about filing a claim for discrimination in hiring or promotion?
For more information, see How do I File a Claim
What are some other online resources I can look at?
For information about filing state claims, see The Maryland Commission on Human Relations
For information about filing federal claims, see Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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