2019 Maryland Code
Labor and Employment
Title 9 - Workers' Compensation
Subtitle 1 - Definitions; General Provisions
§ 9-104. Agreements
(a) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this title, a covered employee or an employer of a covered employee may not by agreement, rule, or regulation:
(i) exempt the covered employee or the employer from a duty of the covered employee or the employer under this title; or
(ii) waive a right of the covered employee or the employer under this title.
(2) An agreement, rule, or regulation that violates paragraph (1) of this subsection is void to the extent of the violation.
(b) (1) If federal law provides an exclusive remedy and compensation to an employee of a common carrier by railroad in this State or a dependent of the employee for disability or death caused by an accidental personal injury sustained in interstate or foreign commerce, the carrier and the employee may enter into an agreement that provides:
(i) for the payment by the carrier of compensation, in accordance with the federal law, to the employee or a dependent of the employee for disability or death caused by an accidental personal injury sustained in intrastate commerce; and
(ii) except as otherwise provided in the agreement, that the carrier may not be civilly liable for the disability or death of the employee caused by the accidental personal injury.
(2) To enter into an agreement with any employees of a common carrier by railroad under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the carrier shall:
(i) submit, under seal, to the Commission a document that:
1. offers to enter into an agreement with each of its employees in the State under paragraph (1) of this subsection; and
2. refers to the applicable federal law; and
(ii) publish notice of the offer once a week for 3 successive weeks after the document is submitted to the Commission:
1. in a newspaper published in each county through which the carrier regularly runs a freight or passenger train; and
2. if the carrier regularly runs a freight or passenger train within Baltimore City, in 2 newspapers published in Baltimore City.
(3) Thirty days after a common carrier by railroad submits to the Commission a document making an offer under paragraph (2) of this subsection, each employee of the carrier shall be conclusively presumed to have entered into the agreement unless, within the 30 days, an employee submits to the Commission a written notice declining the offer.
(4) A common carrier by railroad or an employee of the carrier may end an agreement made under this subsection on the part of the carrier or employee by giving the Commission at least 30 days’ written notice of intention to end the agreement.
(5) If a common carrier by railroad or an employee of the carrier gives the Commission notice of intention to end the agreement in accordance with paragraph (4) of this subsection, the agreement shall end on the part of the carrier or employee on the effective date of the notice.
(c) A covered employee who has sustained an injury or partial disability may waive by written contract the rights of the covered employee under this title for any subsequent injury that is naturally and proximately caused by the previous injury or disability if the covered employee:
(1) voluntarily enters into the contract; and
(2) executes the contract in the presence of 2 individuals who sign the contract as witnesses.
(d) (1) Subject to paragraph (5) of this subsection, as part of a collective bargaining agreement, an employer and a recognized or certified exclusive bargaining representative of employees under the purview of the Building and Construction Trade Council may agree to:
(i) an alternative dispute resolution system that modifies, supplements, or replaces all or part of the dispute prevention and dispute resolution processes contained in this title, and that may include but is not limited to mediation and binding arbitration;
(ii) the use of an agreed list of health care providers of medical treatment and expertise, which may be the source of all medical and related examinations, treatment, and testimony provided under this title;
(iii) the use of an agreed list of health care providers to conduct independent medical examinations;
(iv) a light duty, modified job, or return to work program; and
(v) a vocational rehabilitation or retraining program.
(2) (i) All settlements and resolutions of claims under an alternative dispute resolution system shall be submitted to the Commission for approval. The Commission shall approve settlements and resolutions of claims that the Commission determines are in compliance with this title.
(ii) All arbitration decisions under an alternative dispute resolution system shall be reviewable in the same manner and under the same procedures as a decision of a commissioner.
(3) An agreement under this subsection is not valid until it has been filed with the Commission and determined by the Commission to be in compliance with this subsection and this title.
(4) Once an agreement under this subsection has been determined to be in compliance with this subsection and this title by the Commission it is binding on the employer and the bargaining unit.
(5) This subsection does not allow an agreement that:
(i) exempts a covered employee or an employer from a duty of the covered employee or employer under this title;
(ii) waives or limits a right or benefit of a covered employee or employer under this title, except as otherwise set forth in this subsection;
(iii) affects the imposition of an assessment on settlements and resolutions of claims, as described in §§ 9–806 and 9–1007 of this title; or
(iv) affects claims made under Subtitle 8 or Subtitle 10 of this title or claims made under Title 10, Subtitle 2 of this article.
(6) An agreement that violates paragraph (5) of this subsection is void.
(7) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection, an injured employee whose injury or treatment is related to a medical condition for which the employee is being or has been treated may continue to seek treatment from the health care provider who is treating or has treated the condition.
(8) An agreement under this subsection shall provide for an appeal mechanism for a covered employee who wishes to use a health care provider who is not on the agreed list of health care providers.
(9) Nothing in this subsection requires an insurer to underwrite a program established under paragraph (1) of this subsection.