On May 15, 2014, the City of Baltimore, Maryland, became the tenth U.S. jurisdiction to “ban the box” by passing legislation restricting private employers from inquiring into the criminal history of job applicants.
This legislation applies to PRIVATE employers with 10 or more employees in the City of Baltimore and has some exceptions for employers conducting backgrounds as required by law and those serving the disadvantaged, elderly, or children. Large employers need not comply if they have a small footprint within city limits.
According to the legislation, background checks and inquiries about criminal history of applicants should be delayed until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
A violation is a misdemeanor with potential penalties of a $500 fine and 90 days’ imprisonment. In addition, the Baltimore Community Relations Commission may award a complainant back pay, reinstatement, attorneys’ fees, and compensatory damages, including damages for emotional distress and expenses incurred in seeking other employment.
It is recommended that all employers in the City of Baltimore, as well as companies with operations in Baltimore, review their hiring procedures to ensure compliance.
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