- Maryland Mandates Accommodations for Pregnant Employees, New Posters in Workplaces, and Amendments to Employee Handbooks
- October 7, 2013
- Law Firm: Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy Ecker P.A. - Potomac Office
A recent amendment to Maryland law, effective October 1st, 2013 requires that employers with 15 or more employees provide reasonable accommodation to employees with a disability caused or contributed to by pregnancy. Under the amendment, if an employee requests an accommodation for a disability, including one related to pregnancy, the employer must explore 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 providing leave.
The amendment provides particularly explicit guidelines for employers to determine whether they must transfer the employee as part of the employee’s request for reasonable accommodations. Among other things, the employer must grant the pregnant employee’s request for a transfer if “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.”
In addition to setting forth additional accommodation requirements for employers, the amendment requires employers to post in a conspicuous location, and include in any employee handbook, information concerning an employee’s rights to reasonable accommodations and leave for a disability caused or contributed to by pregnancy. Maryland employers with 15 or more employees should contact legal counsel to determine whether their posters and handbooks comply with the new law.