In Maryland, public and private employers rely on these checks to uncover a job applicant's criminal history, even outside their current place of residence. Right now, backgroundchecks.com can conduct in-house state background checks for 30 states, Maryland included. These searches include major counties within the state like Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and the City of Baltimore, typically returning non-dismissed arrests and conviction records.
Maryland enforces several restrictions on how employers can access and use criminal background data as part of the hiring process. In some cases, cities and counties in Maryland have passed additional applicable laws. Here is a breakdown of the important restrictions businesses must understand before requesting a background check in Maryland.
Arrest and Conviction Records
Maryland places restrictions on employers who wish to consider criminal histories in the employment process. In many cases, state-level arrest or conviction records are not available for use as a screening tool without a court order or statutory mandate. State guidance suggests careful consideration of the potential need before employers order a Maryland background check.
Ban the Box
Public employers in Maryland are barred from making inquiries about any part of an applicant's potential criminal history until after the applicant's initial job interview. If an individual applies for a job with any county-level Sheriff's Office in Maryland, the state Department of Corrections, or another position where the law mandates a background check, this restriction does not apply.
As of 2014, Baltimore employed a ban the box policy for public employers and private companies with more than 10 employees. Background checks may only be conducted after extending an initial offer of employment. Private employers violating these rules may face misdemeanor charges and an accompanying fine.
Effective January 2015, Montgomery County implemented similar requirements. For private employers with more than 15 staff, no background check on applicants is allowed until after an interview. If an employer wishes to terminate a job offer based on the results of a Maryland background check, they must inform the applicant of the specific reason and include a copy of the background check. Applicants then have seven days to review the information and file a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission.
In Prince George's County, inquiries into criminal history and background checks must also wait until after an interview. However, employers may not consider offenses unrelated to an applicant's suitability for that specific position. Like in Montgomery County, applicants must receive a copy of their background report and specific information if their application is denied because of the report.
Pardoned or Expunged Criminal Records
Maryland employers are not allowed to consider any records under seal or which have been pardoned or expunged from the applicant's record. Individuals have no responsibility to share information with employers about these records. The law in Maryland prohibits employers from firing an individual or denying employment based on these records.
Maryland law defines narrow circumstances in which an employer can check an applicant's credit history. In the first scenario, employers may only order a credit check if they have already made a conditional offer to the applicant. Information obtained in the report cannot be used to rescind the offer. In the second scenario, employers must be able to demonstrate a reason for requesting the report that is closely related to the nature of the job. If they do so, they must disclose this practice to the applicant in advance.