Comparison: State vs. Federal
The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of physical or mental disability provided the individual can perform the job in question with or without reasonable accommodation (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-601 et seq.). Employers are also prohibited from requesting or requiring genetic tests or information as a condition of hiring or continued employment. The FEPA covers employers with 15 or more employees. Separate laws also cover public employees.
Interns. Employers may not discriminate against unpaid interns on the basis of any characteristics protected under the FEPA, including disability (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-610). The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for the known disability of an otherwise qualified intern.
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 FEPA.
The FEPA defines the term "disability" as:
- A physical disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness, including epilepsy, or
- A mental impairment or deficiency.
The following impairments are expressly included as disabilities under the FEPA: any degree of paralysis, amputation, or lack of physical coordination; blindness or visual impairment; deafness or hearing impairment; muteness or speech impairment; physical reliance of a service animal, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device; and retardation ...