The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) prohibits all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability unrelated to job performance, or refusal to submit to a genetic test or to make available genetic test results (MD State Govt. Code §20-601 et seq.).
Effective October 1, 2020, the term “race” is defined to include traits associated with race, including hair texture, afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles. The term “protective hairstyles” includes braids, twists, and locks (MD State Govt. Code §20-101).
Under the FEPA, it is unlawful for an employer to:
• Fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the individual's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on a protected characteristic or because an individual has refused to submit to a genetic test.
• Limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect employment status.
• Request or require genetic tests or genetic information as a condition of hiring or determining benefits.
• Fail or refuse to make a reasonable accommodation for the known disability of an otherwise qualified employee.
Interns. Employers may not discriminate against unpaid interns based on any of the protected characteristics (MD State Govt. Code §20-610). The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for the known disability of an otherwise qualified intern.