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Maryland Manual, 1979-80
Volume 179, Page 308   View pdf image (33K)
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308/Maryland Manual
The current Commission consists of nine
members appointed by the Governor with the ad-
vise and consent of the Senate for six-year terms.
The Commission designates one of its members as
Chairperson. In the appointment of Commission
members, consideration is given to representation
from all areas of the State. A staff, currently con-
sisting of 70 authorized positions, is employed to
perform a variety of Commission activities.
The Commission formulates general policy and
direction, acts upon programs and administrative
proposals, conducts public meetings, and
promotes Commission community presence and
assistance. It is authorized to eliminate discrimi-
nation based on race, color, national origin, reli-
gious creed, sex, marital status, physical handi-
cap, mental handicap, or age. The Commission is
empowered to administer and enforce the Mary-
land Public Accommodations Law, Discrimina-
tion in Housing Law, and the Fair Employment
Practices Law. By Chapter 153, Acts of 1969, the
Commission was empowered to initiate com-
plaints and investigate complaints of discrimina-
tion in State agencies. Through its staff, the
Commission receives, investigates, and conciliates
complaints that allege violation of these laws.
The Commission has the power to conduct public
hearings, administer oaths, issue subpoenas, and
to compel the attendance, the testimony of
witnesses, the production of books, papers,
records, and documents relevant or necessary for
proceeding under these laws and to dismiss com-
plaints where evidence shows an absence of dis-
criminatory acts or issue a cease and desist order
if evidence shows that a respondent has engaged
in a discriminatory act.
The Commission has the authority and power
to make such surveys and studies concerning hu-
man relations, conditions, and problems as it may
determine, and to promote in every way possible
the betterment of human relations. The Commis-
sion is further directed to promote in every way
possible the betterment of interracial relations,
submit legislative and administrative recommen-
dations to the Governor in the field of human
relations, and to oversee compliance with the
Code of Fair Practices as promulgated by the
The 1974 General Assembly made major
amendments to the law. Discrimination in hous-
ing on the basis of marital status and sex was
prohibited, and exceptions were provided with re-
spect to the application of certain provisions in
the Discrimination in Housing subtitle (Chapter
848). A second bill provided that it is unlawful
for persons and organizations to discriminate in

certain employment practices against persons who
are mentally or physically handicapped, to pro-
hibit certain discriminatory activities against the
physically or mentally handicapped in housing or
obtaining loans on dwellings, and to make techni-
cal corrections to the language (Chapter 601). A
parallel bill prohibited discriminatory activities in
public accommodations, employment, and hous-
ing because of marital status or physical or men-
tal handicaps relating generally to discrimination
based on marital status or physical or mental
handicaps and clarifying the language (Chapter
By Chapter 419, Acts of 1975, the Commission
may seek certain types of court relief; namely, a
temporary injunction if the Commission believes
that appropriate civil action is necessary to pre-
serve the status of the parties or to prevent irrep-
arable harm. Chapter 333, Acts of 1975, provides
that it is not an unlawful employment practice for
an employer to establish standards concerning an
employee's dress and grooming if the standards
are directly related to the nature of the employ-
By Chapters 937, 907, and 706, Acts of 1977, a
number of important changes in the law were
mandated. By Chapter 937, Acts of 1977, the leg-
islature reduced the size of the Commission from
12 members to 9, empowered the Commission to
designate its own Chairperson, and abolished the
previous $16,000 salary for the Chairperson. The
new legislation continues the appointment of the.
Executive Director by the Governor, but provides
that he must choose from a list of five names sub-
mitted by the Commission and also provides for
the Executive Director's removal by the Governor
upon recommendation of two thirds of the
members of the Commission. The power of ap-
pointment and removal of the Deputy Director
and the General Counsel has been transferred
from the Governor to the Executive Director with
approval by the majority of the Commission
members. The law also authorizes the appoint-
ment of hearing examiners to hear cases under
the Human Relations law, and provides for an
appeal from the decisions of the hearing examiner
to the Commission. Finally, the new legislation
expands the Commission's power to order appro-
priate relief for victims of discrimination by
empowering the Commission to award monetary
relief, limited to two years back pay, to victims of
employment discrimination.
In addition to these changes in MCHR's struc-
ture, procedures, and authority, by Chapter 907,
Acts of 1977, employers are required to treat
disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy

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Maryland Manual, 1979-80
Volume 179, Page 308   View pdf image (33K)
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