You Have the Right to be Free From Discrimination

Americans with Disabilities Act

The major federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, including blindness, is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition to prohibiting employment discrimination (Title 1) this act also ensures participation in public activities, programs, and transportation (Title II), as well as access to public accommodations (Title III). For specific provisions of the ADA visit the ADA web site or call the ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301. For employment discrimination violations under Title I of the ADA you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Charges of discrimination may be filed at any EEOC field office, which are located throughout the 50 states and are listed in most telephone directories under "U.S. Government." For the appropriate EEOC field office in your geographic area, call (800) 669-4000 or visit the EEOC web site. For Title II violations of the ADA that deal with access to public activities (such as education, recreation, health care, social services, and voting) contact the U.S. Department of Justice at the address below. To report violations regarding the use of, and access to, public transportation (such as city buses and rail transit), you may file a complaint with the

U.S. Department of Transportation.
U.S. Department of Justice,
Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section -NYAV
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530 Phone:
(800) 514-0301

Office of Civil Rights
Federal Transit Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, S.W. Room 9102
Washington, D.C. 20590
Web site:
Phone: (888) 446-4511

Maryland's White Cane Law

The major state law that protects people from discrimination based on blindness is the Maryland White Cane law prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and in public accommodations, and ensuring access to public facilities, streets, sidewalks, and other public places in the State of Maryland. The law includes special provisions for blind and visually impaired pedestrians as it instructs drivers to be observant of blind and visually impaired pedestrians using a white cane or guide dog to navigate public transportation. The law also guarantees a blind person the right to be accompanied by a specially trained dog guide in all public accommodations and on all forms of public transportation. read the Maryland White Cane law in MS Word format. If you feel your rights have been denied under The White Cane Law, contact the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights or the Human Relations Commission for the county in which you live. If the human relations commission finds that discrimination occurred and the employer refuses to settle, the complainant may go to state or federal court for a remedy. Having a state court remedy was added to Maryland law in 2007.


Protection of individuals with retired service dogs


In 2023, HB608/SB535 was enacted into law. The law defines service dogs and prohibits housing discrimination. The person with a disability shall be exempt from any provision in a lease or rental agreement prohibiting the keeping of dogs; may not be required to pay any additional rent or fee for the individual’s service dog or former service dog; may keep the individual’s former service dog in the dwelling for the life of the service dog after its retirement from service.


Read Hb608 in PDF format. Read Hb608 in Word format.


Protecting Service Animals from Injury or Death

In 2021, HB234 was enacted into law. This law makes it a crime to injure or kill a service animal. It also outlines penalties and restitution to the owner that may be issued by the judge. Read HB234 in MS Word format or read HB234 in PDF format.


Maryland’s Genetic Information - Non-discrimination in Employment Law (HB 18/SB 2)

HB 18/SB 2 is the state law, enacted in 2001, that prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of genetic information. This law is important because some causes of blindness are genetic. Read the genetics discrimination law in MS Word format. Read the genetics discrimination law in PDF format.


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