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Office of Fair Practices

Mission Statement

  • Administer and enforce State and federal equal employment opportunity laws and policies;
  • Promote a work environment free of any unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation; and
  • Assist in the building of a well-diversified workforce for Maryland State government employees and applicants.

Contacts

80 Calvert St
Annapolis, MD, 21401

Paulette Walker
Director of Fair Practice
Phone: 410-260-7616
E-mail: pwalker@marylandtaxes.gov

Office of The Statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator

  • Monitoring and evaluating activities, policies and practices of Maryland State government to ensure they are in compliance with State and federal employment provisions and the Governor's Executive Order on Fair Employment Practices;
  • Reviewing and investigating appeals of decisions in EEO complaints filed against Executive Branch agencies, including agencies with independent personnel systems and the University System of Maryland, and, as designee of the Secretary, for investigating whistleblower complaints filed against such agencies, with the exception of those filed against the Department of Budget and Management;
  • Making certain that State employees understand the State's EEO policies and their rights and responsibilities;
  • Coordinating and implementing training on such topics as ADA, Sexual Harassment, Diversity, and EEO laws;
  • Preparing the Annual Report on the State's EEO Program;
  • Monitoring discrimination complaints against State agencies filed with the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, and other external enforcement agencies;
  • Conducting Agency Audit Compliance Reviews;
  • Assisting agency Fair Practices, Equal Employment Opportunity and Americans with Disabilities Act Officers with enforcement efforts;
  • Partnering with the Maryland Department of Disabilities to provide ongoing education and assistance to the ADA Officers;
  • Providing consultation and technical assistance to agency Fair Practices, EEO and ADA officers, as well as other agency officials;
  • Preparing and distributing reports in compliance with other State and federal requirements.

File a Complaint: EEO Complaint Procedure

Steps in Procedures Time Line
An applicant or employee may file a written complaint with the appropriate head of the principal unit within 30 days after the complainant knew, or reasonably should have known, of the alleged violation of the State's Fair Employment Practices Policy (SPP 5-211). 30 Days
After receiving the complaint, the agency Equal Employment Opportunity Officer shall investigate and recommend a proposed decision to the head of the principal unit. The head of the principal unit shall issue a written decision to the complainant and may grant any appropriate relief. 30 Days
The complainant may appeal, in writing, to the Department of Budget and Management, Office of the Statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator, Room 607, 301 West Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 10 Days
After receiving the appeal, the Statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator shall review the complaint and the agency decision and conduct any necessary investigation. The Office of the Statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator shall issue the final decision which may be to grant the relief requested by the complainant or dismiss the complaint. 30 Days
  • Procedure covers employees and applicants for positions in the Skilled, Professional and Management Services, or comparable positions in independent personnel systems.

  • Employees in the State Personnel Management System may elect to pursue an allegation of employment discrimination under either the above complaint procedure or the grievance procedure in SPP Title 12.

  • Days refer to calendar days.

  • Failure of any agency to respond to a complaint within the established time lines is considered a denial from which an appeal may be made.

  • A complainant may be represented during the complaint process by any person the complainant chooses.

  • The complainant and/or respondent may recommend mediation during any step in the procedures.

Source: State Personnel & Pensions Article, Title 5, Subtitle 2

The employee may also file a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure

It is imperative that all employees in State government be assured of a working environment conducive to the performance of their duties and free from sexual harassment, intimidation or coercion of any form. Cabinet Secretaries and other agency heads are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy, including the prompt investigation and resolution of any complaint of sexual harassment.

I. Purpose - It is the policy of the State of Maryland that sexual harassment is an unlawful employment practice that will not be tolerated in the work place. This procedure is intended to ensure that allegations of sexual harassment are given proper attention.

II. Legal Authority

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
  2. Article 49B, Annotated Code of Maryland
  3. Title 5, State Personnel and Pensions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland
  4. Executive Order 01.01.2007.16, Code of Fair Employment Practices
  5. EEOC Policy Guidance on Sexual Harassment, Number N-915-0505 (3/19/90)

III. Definition of Sexual Harassment

  1. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may be verbal (sexual innuendo, threats, jokes, sexual propositions, or suggestive comments); non-verbal (making suggestive or insulting noises, leering, whistling or making obscene gestures, or displaying sexually explicit or offensive pictures or other illustrations); or physical (touching, pinching, brushing the body, assaulting, or any other contact of a sexual nature).
  2. Types of Sexual Harassment

1. Quid Pro Quo - Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment when:

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; or
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.

2. Hostile Work Environment -Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute hostile environment sexual harassment when a reasonable person would find:

  1. such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual work performance; or
  2. such conduct creates an intimidating hostile or offensive working environment, which is perceived by the victim to be abusive or hostile.
  3. The victim, as well as the accused, may be a female or a male; the victim does not have to be of the opposite sex; the accused may be an employee's direct supervisor, a supervisor in another division, a co-worker, or a non-employee; and the victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  4. Sex-based offensive behavior in the work place is prohibited by law. Even if the behavior may be tolerated by some individuals outside of the work place, sexual harassment will not be tolerated within the work place. The ignorance or intentions of the harasser are irrelevant; sexual harassment is wrong and will not be tolerated.

IV. Employees Responsibilities - If an employee believes that sexual harassment has occurred, the employee should take the following steps:

  1. Inform the offending person that his/her conduct is unwelcome and should cease immediately. It is important for the victim to communicate that the conduct is unwelcome, particularly when the alleged harasser may have some reason to believe that the advance may be welcome. However, a victim of harassment need not confront his/her harasser directly, so long as his/her conduct demonstrates that the harasser's behavior is unwelcome.
  2. If the alleged harassment does not cease, it promptly should be reported to the affected employee's supervisor, the agency's Fair Practices Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, other management representative, or the Office of the Statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator.
  3. If an employee's immediate supervisor is alleged to have sexually harassed the employee, the incident should be reported to the person directly in charge of the supervisor, the agency's Fair Practices Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, other management representative, or the Office of the Statewide EEO Coordinator.

V. Agency's Responsibilities

  1. When an alleged incident of sexual harassment is reported to a supervisor, a Fair Practices Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer or any management representative, the agency must initiate and complete its investigation into the allegations within thirty (30) working days from the agency's notification of the alleged harassment. The investigation shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the guidelines issued by the Department of Budget and Management.
  2. The employee alleging sexual harassment should be informed that the agency will investigate all allegations of sexual harassment and take immediate appropriate corrective action in response to all substantiated charges.
  3. The employee alleging sexual harassment must be informed that the agency will ensure confidentiality and that they (the complaining employee and all witnesses) will not be retaliated against as a result of participating in the investigation.
  4. The employee alleging sexual harassment must be informed of his or her right to file a formal complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by the agency's Fair Practices or Equal Employment Opportunity Officer or the agency official who is responsible for investigating the alleged harassment.
  5. The Statewide EEO Coordinator should be notified in all complaints including management officials.
  6. The Statewide EEO Coordinator provides procedural guidance and may assist an agency in its investigation, through the ECAP program, if necessary.
  7. The agency is required to make follow-up inquiries to ensure the harassment has not resumed, if harassment was found, and that no retaliatory action has been taken in response to the filing of the complaint.

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