Montgomery County, MD Amends Fair Criminal Records Screening (“Ban the Box”) Law

December 4, 2020

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On November 20, 2020 Montgomery County MD amended sections of the Montgomery County Code by enacting Bill 35-20, the effective date is February 19, 2021.

This law will extend the provisions found in the current Montgomery County Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (“Ban the Box”) law passed in 2014. The new Bill will expand the scope of the current law by prohibiting background checks until after a conditional offer has been extended. Inquiries regarding certain crimes will be prohibited altogether and the definition of “Employer” will be expanded to include any employer in the County, excluding certain types of employers such as those that provide services to minors and vulnerable adults.

Specifically the amended law states:
27-72. Prohibited inquiries; retaliation

(b) Preliminary inquiry into criminal record. In connection with the proposed employment of an applicant, an employer must not, at any time before the extension of a conditional offer to the applicant:

  • (1) require the applicant to disclose whether the applicant has an arrest record or conviction record, or otherwise has been accused of a crime;
  • (2) conduct a criminal record check on the applicant; or
  • (3) inquire of the applicant or others about whether the applicant has an arrest record or conviction record or otherwise has been accused of a crime.

(c) Prohibition against inquiry into certain criminal records. In connection with the proposed employment of an applicant, an employer must not at any time require an applicant to disclose, conduct a criminal record check to determine, or otherwise inquire of the applicant or others, whether:

  • (1) the applicant has been arrested for, or has an arrest record for, a matter that did not result in a conviction; or
  • (2) the applicant has an arrest record or a conviction record for, or otherwise has been accused of:
    • (A) a first conviction of: (i) trespass under §§ 6-402 or 6-403 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Code; or (ii) disturbance of the peace under § 10-201 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Code
    • (B) a conviction of a misdemeanor if at least 3 years have passed since: (i) the date of the conviction; and (ii) the date that any period of incarceration for the misdemeanor ended;
    • (C) a matter for which records: (i) are confidential under § 3-8A-27 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code; or (ii) have been expunged under §§ 10-101 – 10-110 of the Criminal Procedure Article of the Maryland Code.

(d) Consideration of Certain Records Prohibited.

An employer must not base a hiring or promotion decision upon any item in an arrest record or a conviction record described under subsection (c). Sec. 27-74. Exemptions (c) The prohibitions and requirements of this Article do not apply to an employer that provides programs, services, or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults. See Montgomery County, MD Amended Ban the Box Law

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