Article - State Government
(a) In addition to the right to make an election under § 20–1007 of this subtitle, a complainant may bring a civil action against the respondent alleging an unlawful employment practice, if:
(1) the complainant initially filed a timely administrative charge or a complaint under federal, State, or local law alleging an unlawful employment practice by the respondent;
(2) at least 180 days have elapsed since the filing of the administrative charge or complaint; and
(3) (i) except as provided in item (ii) of this paragraph, the civil action is filed within 2 years after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred; or
(ii) if the complaint is alleging harassment, the civil action is filed within 3 years after the alleged harassment occurred.
(b) A civil action under this section shall be filed in the circuit court for the county where the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.
(c) The filing of a civil action under this section automatically terminates any proceeding before the Commission based on the underlying administrative complaint and any amendment to the complaint.
(d) If the court finds that an unlawful employment practice occurred, the court may provide the remedies specified in § 20–1009(b) of this subtitle.
(e) (1) In addition to the relief authorized under subsection (d) of this section, the court may award punitive damages, if:
(i) the respondent is not a governmental unit or political subdivision; and
(ii) the court finds that the respondent has engaged in or is engaging in an unlawful employment practice with actual malice.
(2) If the court awards punitive damages, the sum of the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each complainant under subsection (d) of this section and the amount of punitive damages awarded under this subsection may not exceed the applicable limitation established under § 20–1009(b)(3) of this subtitle.
(f) If a complainant seeks compensatory or punitive damages under this section:
(1) any party may demand a trial by jury; and
(2) the court may not inform the jury of the limitations on compensatory and punitive damages imposed under § 20–1009(b)(3) of this subtitle.
(g) When appropriate and to the extent authorized under law, in a dispute arising under this part, in which the complainant seeks compensatory or punitive damages, the parties are encouraged to use alternative means of dispute resolution, including settlement negotiations or mediation.