Maryland Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

Maryland Background Checks: What you need to know

There are a number of ways for employers to gather information on the background of an applicant for employment. Employers may simply call an applicant's former employer to confirm the applicant's dates of employment and title and to try to obtain a more detailed reference from a supervisor. However, more and more frequently, employers are hiring third parties to conduct background checks on applicants who have been offered employment. In addition, depending on the nature of the position, employers are requesting reports about an applicant's driving record, criminal record, or credit history. There are often legal limits on employers obtaining and using this type of information. When employers hire a third party to conduct a background check or to obtain reports from outside agencies, such reports are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws. In Maryland, employers must comply with laws concerning arrests and convictions, credit checks, criminal background checks, driver's record information, and background investigations.
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Effective February 29, 2020, 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 Labor & Empl. Code Sec. 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 of probation before judgment, or a disposition of not criminally responsible.
The law does not prohibit employers from making inquiries or taking ...

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