Baltimore - City Law Limits Employee Criminal Record Check, Banning the Box

Ban the Box laws are being passed in cities, counties and states across the U.S.

Effictive August 13, 2014, some employers in Baltimore City will be restricted from asking applicants and employees about their criminal history. The law, passed by City Council, titled "Ban the Box" - Fair Criminal-Record Screening Practices, applies to employers with 10 ore more full-time employees in Baltimore City. The law also differentiates between two types of criminal history - arrest records and conviction records.

Employers are prohibited from asking or requiring applicants and current employees to disclose any arrest or criminal accusation that:

  • Is not pending
  • Has not resulted in a conviction
If an employers learns of an arrest or accusation of that person, the employer is prohibited from taking adverse action based on the knoweldge.

In addition, employers are prohibited from asking or requiring the following until a conditional offer of employment is given:
  • Asking an applicant about their criminal record
  • Requiring an applicant to disclose his or her criminal record
  • Conducting a criminal record check on an applicant
Once a conditional offer of employment is extended, criminal record history is no longer restricted.

Employers expressly authorized by another law to inquire about arrest records or convictions are exempt from the new law. Employees of child care facilities and other sensitive positions, for example, would be exempt.

Detail on the law can be found here.