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Maryland General Assembly Overrides Governor’s Ban the Box Law Veto

The Maryland General Assembly has overridden Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of ban the box legislation from last year’s legislative session.  Under the new law, which goes into effect February 29, 2020, employers are prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal histories until an in-person interview.

Employer Rights And Responsibilities

Employers with 15 or more full-time employees, including supervisors for those employers, may not, at any time before the first in-person interview, require an applicant to disclose whether the applicant has a criminal record or has had criminal accusations brought against the applicant.  Employers may require applicants to disclose whether the applicant has a criminal record or has had criminal accusations brought against the applicant, so long as the inquiry does not occur until the first in-person interview.

The statute does not prohibit employers from inquiring about or taking an action that the employer must take pursuant to another law and does not apply to employers that provide programs, services, or direct care to minors or to vulnerable adults.

Application

The ban applies to work for pay, as well as “any form of vocational or educational training,” regardless of whether it is compensated.  Moreover, the ban applies to contractual, temporary, seasonal, and contingent employees, as well as employment through a temp or employment agency.

Criminal Record Defined

Criminal record is defined as an arrest, plea or verdict of guilty, plea of nolo contender, marking of a charge “STET” on the docket, disposition of probation before judgment, or a disposition of not criminally responsible.

No Retaliation

Employers may not take personnel action, retaliate, or discriminate against an applicant or employee as a reprisal for the applicant or employee asserting a violation of the ban the box law.

Penalties

Penalties include an order compelling compliance and civil penalties of up to $300 for each violation (per individual), the latter penalty being available after the first violation.

 

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