Fair Hiring Practices: Montgomery County, MD to ‘Ban the Box’

Fair Hiring Practices: Montgomery County, MD to ‘Ban the Box’

Ban the BoxOn 10/28/14, Montgomery County, MD became the latest county in Maryland to pass an ordinance restricting employers from asking job applicants about previous criminal convictions. The impetus behind ‘ban the box’ is to ease hiring barriers for previously convicted applicants, in order to put job qualifications in the forefront.

The purpose of the Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (aka ‘Ban the Box’) is to:

  • assist in the successful reintegration into the workforce of people with criminal records by removing improper barriers to employment; and
  • enhance the health and safety of the community by assisting people with criminal records to lawfully provide for themselves and their families.

The Montgomery County, MD Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards ordinance will become effective on 01/01/15.

While many other other states and counties have implemented the ‘Ban the Box’ as part of their Fair Hiring Practices, the specifics for each state and municipality may vary. Contact FosterThomas to make sure you are in compliance.

Quick Facts for Montgomery County MD’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (aka ‘Ban the Box’)

In connection with the proposed employment of any applicant or a current employee who requests to be considered for a promotion, a covered employer may not, at any time before the conclusion of a first interview for employment:

  • Require the applicant to disclose or reveal whether he or she has a criminal record
  • Conduct a criminal record check on the applicant
  • Otherwise make any inquiry of the applicant or others about whether the applicant has a criminal record

If an employer intends to rescind a conditional offer based on an applicants’ criminal record, the employer must:

  • Provide applicant with a copy of any criminal record report
  • Notify applicant of the items that are basis for the intention to rescind
  • Delay rescinding offer for 7 days to allow for disputes

Exemptions regarding inquiries into criminal history:

  • Actions expressly required or authorized by Federal, County or State law
  • Employment with certain County agencies (Police, Fire, Dept. of Corrections)
  • Employment with facilities directly servicing minors or vulnerable adults
  • Employer that is hiring for a position that requires a federal government security clearance

To review the Montgomery County, MD Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards in its entirety, please click the button below:


Jurisdictions with Ban the Box Laws

Ban the Box laws have been in effect since 1998, and have been adopted by 11 States, the
District of Columbia, and 58 Cities and Counties throughout the United States.

  • States: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts,Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island (and the District of Columbia)
  • Counties: Alameda, Santa Clara (CA); Muskegon, Saginaw (MI); Cumberland, Durham (NC);Multnomah (OR); Travis (TX)
  • Cities: Berkeley, Compton, Carson, East Palo Alto, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco (CA);Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Norwich (CT); Wilmington (DE); Jacksonville,Tampa (FL); Atlanta (GA); Chicago (IL); Indianapolis (IN); New Orleans (LA); Baltimore(MD); Boston, Cambridge, Worcester (MA); Detroit, Kalamazoo (MI); Minneapolis, St. Paul(MN); Kansas City (MO); Atlantic City, Newark (NJ); Buffalo, New York (NY); Carboro,Charlotte, Durham, Spring Lake (NC); Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Massillon (OH);Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (PA); Providence (RI); Memphis (TN); Austin (TX); Newport News,Norfolk, Petersburg, Portsmouth, Richmond (VA); Seattle (WA)


‘Ban the Box’ Fair Hiring Policy: New Baltimore Ordinance Effective 8/13/14


Guidelines for Pre-Employment Interviews from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Employers wanting to select qualified and capable individuals through effective, fair and lawful recruitment and selection processes are sometimes confused about the legality or appropriateness of some pre-employment inquiries. Although determining appropriate and nondiscriminatory questions to ask when conducting pre-employment interviews or to include on employment applications is not always an easy task, there are laws, guidelines and policies that provide guidance in this area

Full details can be found on the Maryland DLLR website HERE

Guidelines for Pre-Employment Interviews

Should you need assistance with how your business conducts pre-employment interviews, the hiring process, or onboarding process, in light of this new law, please contact a FosterThomas HR Compliance Specialist for guidance.



About the Author

FosterThomas is a leading professional services company that provides solutions in the areas of Human Resources Consulting and Outsourcing, HR Staffing, Outsourced Recruiting, Employee Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Implementation and Services, HR for Government Contractors, Business Insurance, HR Compliance and Risk Management. We help organizations by providing solutions designed with a focus on cost containment strategies and increasing HR efficiency. FosterThomas HR Consulting was established in 1993 with offices in Annapolis, Maryland (Corporate), McLean, Virginia and Raleigh, North Carolina. Today, FosterThomas occupies a unique position as a full service provider of HR services.

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