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

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

Protected classes. The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability unrelated to job performance, the individual's refusal to submit to a genetic test or to provide genetic test results, or pregnancy (Md. Gov’t Code § 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.
Disabilities. According to regulations issued by the Maryland Human Relations Commission, employers may not conduct a preemployment inquiry to ascertain the existence or severity of a disability (Md. Code Regs. 14.03.02.07). An employer may inquire about an applicant's ability to perform job-related functions (i.e., provide a list of essential job functions and ask the applicant if he or she can perform them).
Criminal history. Employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from requiring a job applicant to disclose his or her criminal history before the applicant’s first in-person interview (Md. Lab. & Empl. Code § 3-1501). An employer may require disclosure during the first in-person interview. The law defines a “criminal record” to include an arrest, a plea or verdict of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere, the marking of a charge “stet” on the docket, a disposition ...

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