Area of Law:
Maryland has very complicated laws governing the rights of those who have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Discrimination in the workplace is taken very seriously in Maryland, and in addition to both federal and state laws prohibiting such discrimination, several counties and municipalities also have their own laws that deal with local businesses discriminating against employees. This means that as a worker in the state of Maryland, you can enjoy some of the fairest workplaces in the nation as well as some of the strongest legal protection against racial discrimination. However, this does not mean that racial discrimination never happens in Maryland because unfortunately it still does, but at least in Maryland employees have the ability to seek solutions to incidents of discrimination at many levels.
If you live in Maryland and feel you have been the victim of workplace racial discrimination, it's a good idea to seek legal advice from a specialized attorney to figure out what your best avenue of recourse would be. Because of the complex discrimination laws in Maryland, there may be options available to you that you are not aware of. For example, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince Georges County all have different laws regarding racial discrimination within the respective areas. Outside of these counties, there may be municipal laws that give you additional options for filing a discrimination complaint against your employer, and again an attorney who specializes in either civil rights or labor law would be best person equipped to help you with these matters.
If you have become aware of discriminatory policies in your workplace, you may want to try to settle the matter internally. If your company is large enough to have an HR Department, you can speak to the HR representative about your complaint and find out if anything can be done to rectify the situation within company boundaries. However, if speaking to HR does not settle the matter, or if you feel uncomfortable approaching someone within the company, then you can file your claim either at the state or federal level. The Maryland Commission on Human Relations (MCHR) is the agency to file with at the state level, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federally operated agency with which to file. It should be noted that there is no need to file separately with both of these agencies; all you need to do is inform one agency that you want to cross-file with the other, and the agency will take care of the rest.
If your county has specific anti-discrimination statutes, many attorneys will recommend that you file your claim at the county level. This is because you can usually expect to have your claim processed more quickly at the county level than at either the state or federal levels. Furthermore, many county statutes cover smaller companies with fewer than 15 employees, whereas filing at the federal level requires that your workplace have at least 15 employees.