• Bill Passed In Maryland General Assembly Expanding Protections Against Pregnancy Discrimination To Maryland Employees
  • May 1, 2013 | Author: Andrew G. Scott
  • Law Firm: Pessin Katz Law, P.A. - Towson Office
  • The General Assembly recently passed a bill which expands protections against pregnancy discrimination to employees in Maryland. The bill, which is expected to be signed by Governor O’Malley and, if signed, will take effect on October 1, 2013, applies to all employers with 15 or more employees, including State agencies.

    Under the terms of the bill, if an employee requests a reasonable accommodation as a result of a disability “caused or contributed to by pregnancy,” the employer “shall explore with the employee all possible means of providing the reasonable accommodation, including: (1) changing the employee’s job duties; (2) changing the employee’s work hours; (3) relocating the employee’s work area; (4) providing mechanical or electrical aids; (5) transferring the employee to a less strenuous or less hazardous position; or (6) providing leave.” The bill further provides that, “[i]f an employee requests a transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position as a reasonable accommodation, the employer shall transfer the employee for a period of time up to the duration of the employee’s pregnancy if: (1) the employer has a policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement requiring or authorizing the transfer of a temporarily disabled employee to a less strenuous or less hazardous position for the duration of the disability; or (2) the employee’s health care provider advises the transfer and the employer can provide the reasonable accommodation by transferring the employee without: (I) creating additional employment that the employer would not otherwise have created; (II) discharging any employee; (III) transferring any employee with more seniority than the employee requesting the reasonable accommodation; or (IV) promoting any employee who is not qualified to perform the job.” Importantly, an employer is not required to provide the requested accommodation if it would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

    Lastly, the bill allows employers to require an employee seeking an accommodation “to provide certification from the employee’s health care provider concerning the medical advisability of a reasonable accommodation to the same extent a certification is required for other temporary disabilities.” Such certifications must include: (1) the date the reasonable accommodation became medically advisable; (2) the probable duration of the reasonable accommodation; and (3) an explanatory statement as to the medical advisability of the reasonable accommodation.