Maryland Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing) laws & HR compliance analysis

Maryland Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing): What you need to know

The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, physical or mental disability unrelated to job performance, or the individual's refusal to submit to a genetic test or to provide genetic test results (MD State Govt. Code Sec. 20-601 et seq.). Employers are expressly prohibited from requesting or requiring genetic information or genetic testing as a condition of hiring or determining benefits. As a general rule, an employer would violate the Act by asking questions about any of the other protected characteristics, either on an application form or in a job interview. The Act covers employers with 15 or more employees.
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Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about one of the characteristics previously listed only if it is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business and there is no less intrusive way to ensure that the applicant will be able to perform the essential functions of the job in question. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's clothing. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances and, in general, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds. Employers should use caution in relying on the BFOQ rationale and should always consult with legal counsel before making any inquiries on the basis of a BFOQ.
According to regulations issued by the Maryland Human Relations Commission, employers may not conduct a ...

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