Effective Oct. 1, employers in Maryland with 15 or more on the payroll must provide pregnant employees with added reasonable accommodations going beyond those afforded by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

Essentially, employers must rearrange the essential functions of a pregnant employee's job so that it is less strenuous or is considered light duty. This is in marked contrast to the ADA, which mandates the retention of all job functions and work requirements but does require the removal of impediments and/or the offering of necessary assistance.

The governing law also mandates the posting of a notice in a conspicuous place that outlines these new rights, along with the inclusion of appropriate explanations in the company's employee handbook, but it fails to order any state agency to create such a poster.

However, the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, the regulatory agency for disabilities, announced on Sept. 12 that it would create one in the near future, though it's doubtful one will be ready for Oct. 1.