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MD: Peace Orders and Workplace Violence

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;
  • Harassment;
  • Stalking;
  • Trespassing;
  • 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.

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