The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (FEP) prohibits all public and private employers of 15 or more employees from discriminating in employment against qualified individuals with a physical or mental disability (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-601 et seq.). According to state regulations, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a disability (MD Admin. Code Sec. 14.03.02.02). Additional information is available.
The FEP also bars employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information or because of an individual's refusal to submit to or make available the results of a genetic test (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-606).
Retaliation prohibited. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or applicant who has opposed an unlawful employment practice or has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the FEP.
It is permissible to hire an individual on the basis of a BFOQ. A BFOQ is a qualification that is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business. For example, being female would be a BFOQ for modeling women's clothing. The BFOQ exception is narrowly interpreted, however, and employers should use extreme caution in relying on such a rationale when making employment decisions that may have a discriminatory effect.