Governor Issues Executive Order To Prohibit Discrimination in State Hiring - Southern Maryland Headline News

Governor Issues Executive Order To Prohibit Discrimination in State Hiring


Order requires potential employees to be evaluated on merit and fitness without regard to: age; ancestry; color; creed; genetic information; martial status; mental or physical disability; national origin; race; religious affiliation, belief, or opinion; sex or sexual orientation

ANNAPOLIS - Governor Martin O'Malley yesterday signed an executive to ensure that state employment decisions are based only on merit and fitness. Executive Order 01.01.2007.09 - Code of Fair Employment Practices - protects state employees from discrimination and mandates that state government comply with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations and the United States Equal Opportunity Commission.

"Our state is committed to providing a work environment free from discrimination, and I am proud to issue this executive order to protect our state's employees from discrimination," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "To bring the best workers to Maryland's state government, we need to guarantee every employee the basic protections that they deserve, and that our state government sets an example for equal employment opportunities throughout Maryland."

The executive order requires that the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management appoint a Statewide Equal Opportunity Coordinator, and an Equal Employment Opportunity Unit to oversee equal employment in accordance with state and federal law. The Executive Order also directs the Secretary to create rules and regulations to handle any cases of potential discrimination, and sets penalties for discrimination, including dismissal from employment with the State.

Last week, Governor O'Malley held a cabinet meeting where all cabinet secretaries were briefed on the importance of Maryland's Equal Employment Opportunity Program. EEO Officers for each state agency were also in attendance. Currently, the State of Maryland has 116 EEO officers and 77 Agency Fair Practice Officers. Overall, the State of Maryland has 55,445 employees.

The executive order signed today repeals Governor Parris Glendening's Executive Order 01.01.1995.19, and makes the following updates to the Executive Order regarding Equal Employment Opportunity:

* The Executive Branch cannot make employment decisions based upon genetic information.

* The head of each branch of the Executive Department shall proactively develop and implement programs, activities and events to acknowledge and educate about diversity and cultural differences.

* The Statewide Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Coordinator shall monitor the compliance and effectiveness of each agency's EEO program and make recommendations for improvement.

* Discrimination or retaliation complaints shall be filed with the head of the unit, and may be appealed to the statewide EEO Coordinator's Office.

* No employee shall be retaliated against for seeking a reasonable accommodation for a disability.

* Managers and Supervisors shall receive training concerning reasonable accommodations for disabilities.

The executive order directs that all personnel actions concerning any employee or applicant for employment in the Executive Branch will be taken on the basis of merit and fitness, and without regard to:

* Age;
* Ancestry;
* Color;
* Creed;
* Genetic information;
* Martial status;
* Mental or physical disability;
* National origin;
* Race;
* Religious affiliation, belief, or opinion;
* Sex or
* Sexual orientation

The order also requires each department within the Executive Branch to submit an annual report to the Secretary of Budget and Management of the activities taken in the previous fiscal year to promote fair employment practices within each agency and effectuate the Code of Fair Employment Practices as defined by the Executive Order.

RELATED INFORMATION:

PDF of Executive Order 01.01.2007.09
http://somd.com/news/headlines/2007/images/2007-05-16-exec-order-hiring.pdf

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