Maryland Implements Ban the Box for Criminal Background Checks

Nick Fishman

Criminal Background Checks

Late last week the state of Maryland passed Senate Bill 4 on Employment Background Checks which prohibits state employers from asking job candidates if they have been convicted of a crime on a job application.  The so-called “ban the box” law applies to “specified appointing authorities in the Judicial, Executive, and Legislative branches of State government from inquiring into the criminal record or criminal history of an applicant for employment until the applicant has been provided an opportunity for an interview; providing that the Act does not prohibit specified appointing authorities from notifying an applicant for employment of specified information; providing for exceptions; etc.”

The act was signed into law by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley on May 2, 2013 and is expected to take effect October 1, 2013.  It is important to note that this law only applies to state employers and not those in the private sector.  It is also important to point out that while state employers may not ask the question on the job application, they can make inquiries after a person has been given an interview.

It is worth noting that there are a number of exemptions in this bill:

  • Positions in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
  • Positions for which an appointing authority has a statutory duty to conduct a criminal records check
  • Positions for the Office of the Sheriff in any county

Finally, the bill does not in any way prevent the state from conducting employee background checks or creating positions which prohibit those with certain criminal records from employment.

For more information about Ban the Box Laws check out the following video:

EmployeeScreenIQ Quick Takes Video: Your Applicant’s Criminal Past- Does It Matter?

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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  • Jay

    Although factual, your informative essay if way too biased to be of any appropriate use. I realize this is more of an commercial rather than objective article, but you have done a disservice to your customers in not pointing out: Waldon v. Cincinnati Public Schools; Pepsi Co. v. EEOC; Kroll v. Harrisburg School District, etc. In each of these cases, blanket criminal background check results, and subsequent decade old convictions were found to be baseless as grounds for termination. Further, this cases applied to public AND private companies.