Here is what small businesses need to know
At the end of February, Maryland enacted a Ban-the-Box law which prohibits employers with 15 or more full-time employees from inquiring about a job applicants’ criminal history before the first face-to-face interview. This means that if you do a phone interview, or have an application to fill out, neither can include a question about whether the person has a criminal record, or if they have been accused of a crime.
The new law not only applied to people being hired for paid employment, but also vocational or educational training with or without pay. It also includes contractual, temporary, seasonal or contingent employees.
There are some exceptions. For example, employers providings programs, services or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults are not subject to the law. A business owner may be required by another state or federal law to ask about criminal history. Violations of the new state ban-the-box law can bring a penalty of up to $300 per violation.
Baltimore City has a more stringent version of the ban-the-box law. It prohibits an employer from asking about criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment.
While the information provided is intended to be accurate, it should not be construed as legal advice; it is advisable to work with a trusted Maryland attorney if you have questions.