Maryland Passes Ban-the-Box Legislation for State Government Applicants

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Maryland State Flag resized 600The Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, recently approved SB4, a “ban-the-box” law, which will go into effect on October 01, 2013.

Maryland Senate Bill 4 states that Maryland state government employers may not inquire into applicants’ criminal histories and/or criminal records for purposes of employment until applicants have been provided opportunities for employment interviews. The law specifically does not prohibit Maryland state government employers from “notifying an applicant for employment that certain prior criminal convictions may prohibit employment in some positions.”

The law applies to employees in the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches of the Maryland State Government, with exception to:

  1. A position in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services;
  2. A position for which an appointing authority has a statutory duty to conduct a criminal history records check; or
  3. A position in the Office of the Sheriff for any county.

This latest legislation in Maryland joins a growing trend of “ban-the-box” legislation nationwide.  Please reference the link provided above for an extensive list of states and other jurisdictions that have enacted such legislation.

It is important to note that while “ban-the-box” legislation prohibits inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application, it does not prohibit employers from processing a criminal background check on an applicant. Comprehensive, pre-employment criminal background checks are increasingly-important as ban-the-box legislation becomes more prevalent nationwide. Employers are becoming more limited by state and county laws as to what they can ask prospective employees on job applications, and thus are more reliant on accredited background screening agencies to provide them with thorough and accurate background information.

Employment Background Investigations (EBI) works with employers globally to provide a full range of comprehensive and legally compliant criminal background check solutions.  Our "Just One Solution" suite of background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare, and electronic form I-9 services will help reduce the risks and liabilities of a bad hire!  EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local, and international mandatory requirements.  EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided in this document should be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their responsibilities or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.