Effective August 15, 2014, public and private employers with 10 or more employees working in the City of Baltimore must remove from their employment applications questions asking candidates about their criminal backgrounds and will be prohibited from questioning prospective employment candidates about their criminal background during the initial interview stages. Criminal background inquiries can be made after an offer of conditional employment is made.
The purpose of the ordinance is to eliminate employment discrimination of applicants with criminal histories. The law, however, provides two exceptions. First, it does not apply to employers who are authorized by federal, state or local laws to consider an applicant’s criminal history. For example, a transportation company has the right to inquire into an applicant’s driving convictions pursuant to Department of Transportation licensing regulations. Second, the law does not apply to employers that provide programs, services or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults. Thus, an elementary school retains the right to inquire about sexual abuse convictions of its applicants. Violations of the law can result in criminal penalties of up to a $500 fine and 90 days’ imprisonment for each offense. Monetary damages may also be awarded to those individuals who file a complaint with the Baltimore Community Relations Commission. Employers who are to be affected by the new law should immediately review their employment applications and hiring processes to ensure compliance. Any questions on applications pertaining to criminal history should be removed and any recruiting or hiring personnel should be apprised of the new requirement through training and policy revisions. Although not addressed in the legislation, the law does not appear to extend to companies headquartered in Baltimore City who do not have the requisite number of employees working in the city. Questions about this law should be directed to Offit Kurman’s employment attorneys practicing in Baltimore City.
Offit Kurman Labor and Employment Attorneys
Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law experienced team of labor lawyers and employment attorneys is well positioned to offer a broad range of services to employers of all sizes and types – whether for-profit, nonprofit, or governmental entities – across the United States.
Our employment attorneys assist employers in staying current with changes in the law and making proactive decisions regarding workplace policy and procedure. We pride ourselves in developing the type of relationships that enable you to stay focused on your core business and moving your business forward. From labor negotiations and alternative dispute resolution, to wage and hour investigations and charges of wrongful termination, the labor attorneys at Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law are skilled at helping to resolve the challenging workplace issues employers face every day.