On May 18, 2021, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation (HB 289) addressing workplace violence by allowing employers to file for a Peace Order on behalf of their employee who was a victim of certain criminal acts in the employee’s workplace. A Peace Order is legal protection that requires a person to stay away and refrain from contact with another person, including a romantic partner, a neighbor, a stranger, or anyone else. The Peace Order may be issued on an interim, temporary or final basis.
The criminal acts it covers are:
- An act that causes serious bodily harm (e.g., kicking, punching, choking, shooting, stabbing, shoving);
- An act that causes fear of serious imminent bodily harm;
- Assault in any degree;
- False imprisonment;
- Malicious destruction of property;
- Misuse of telephone facilities and equipment;
- Misuse of electronic communication or interactive computer service;
- Revenge porn; or
- Criminal visual surveillance.
Employers must notify an employee before filing for an order; however, employers will not be liable for failing to file for a Peace Order, but this provision will sunset after two years. Employers may not retaliate against an employee who does not provide information for or testify at any Peace Order-related legal proceeding.
The law is effective October 1, 2021; however, the civil immunity provision is removed as of October 1, 2023.