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Maryland Bans the Box for State Personnel

By Michael Klazema on 5/20/2013

The new legislation prohibits the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of the state government from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after the individual has been provided an opportunity for an interview. It does not prohibit the government from notifying an applicant for employment that certain prior criminal convictions may prohibit employment in some positions.

The ban does not apply to positions in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, or positions for which the hiring authority is required by law to conduct a criminal history records check.

The law becomes effective October 1, 2013 and remains in effect until June 30, 2018. The new law can be accessed here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2013RS/bills/sb/sb0004E.pdf.

Legislation has not yet been passed that bans the box for Maryland’s private employment sector. However, the state’s Department of Labor has issued a guideline for pre-employment inquiries stating it is unlawful for an employer to make general inquiries into an applicant’s arrest or conviction record. But, inquiries about convictions which bear a direct relationship to the job and have not been expunged or sealed are lawful. See http://www.dllr.state.md.us/oeope/preemp.shtml

Other restrictions placed on private employers are found in the state’s Criminal Procedure Code. Article 10-109 states an employer may not require disclosure of expunged information about criminal charges in an application, interview, or by other means. A person is not required to refer to or give information about an expunged charge when answering a question about a criminal charge that did not result in a conviction or was pardoned by the Governor. This article also states that refusal by a person to disclose information about criminal charges that have been expunged may not be the sole reason for an employer to discharge or refuse to hire a person.

 

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