Ban the Box Maryland

March 17th, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate

Ban the Box Maryland

Background of Maryland Ban the Box

On January 30, 2020, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of a statewide ban-the-box bill. The Criminal Record Screening Practices Act (the “Act”), was vetoed by the Governor in May 2019, but after successful override votes in both houses of the Assembly, it is effective as of February 29, 2020.

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The Criminal Record Screening Practices Act prohibits all employers in Maryland with 15 or more full-time employees from requiring applicants to disclose criminal records or criminal accusations brought against them prior to conducting their first in-person interview. Two notable definitions contained within the Act pertain to Criminal Record (includes arrests, guilty pleas and verdicts, nolo contendere pleas, “stet” docket marking charges, dispositions of probation before judgement, and dispositions of not criminally responsible) and Employment (“any work for pay and any form of vocational or educational training, with or without pay”).

Exceptions & Redressals

Exceptions to the prohibitions include positions that involve working with or caring for minors and vulnerable adults, as well as positions for which an employer is required or expressly authorized by an applicable federal or state law to make such an inquiry. However, the Act explicitly states that it does not preempt local laws in the state which have more restrictive requirements.

Redresses for violations will be enforced by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry and will result in orders compelling compliance for initial infractions, followed by civil penalties of up to $300 per applicant, subject to the discretion of the Commissioner, for subsequent violations. Employers are further barred from retaliating against employees or applicants who submit complaints.

Maryland employers should consult with their legal counsel regarding their current practices for evaluating applicants’ and employees’ criminal histories. Employers with multiple locations throughout the state should stay abreast of varying regulations which may preempt the Act at the county or municipal level.

The full text of the Act can be found here.

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Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.