Thursday, May 16, 2013

Maryland bans the box



In February I posted about Tampa being the latest city to pass “ban the box” legislation. Since then, Maryland has joined seven other states by recently passing legislation that removes the criminal conviction question from state employment applications. Maryland’s governor signed the bill into law on May 2, 2013 and it will take effect October 1, 2013. Currently, there are fifty cities or counties nationwide with similar laws and legislation being heard in more jurisdictions each year.

The Maryland law applies only to State of Maryland employment applications. State government cannot ask about criminal record or criminal history of an applicant until the applicant has been provided an opportunity for an interview.  Exempt from the law are positions in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Other States with statewide laws are:
California-state employment
Colorado-state employment
Connecticut-state employment
Hawaii-public and private employment
Massachusetts-public and private employment
Minnesota-state employment
New Mexico-state employment

The National Employment Law Project estimates that there are 65 million Americans with criminal records. The interest in employers to conduct background checks also continues to grow. It is reasoned by supporters that many qualified workers are not given the opportunity for employment. In this digital age of job application submission it is difficult enough to clear the candidate filtering process. Applicants are grateful for a chance at a face to face interview. Those with criminal records would like the opportunity to address the issue and not be judged on the record alone.

Most jurisdictions’ laws regulate government hiring. With some exceptions, the city/county laws apply to government applicants or vendors. Hawaii and Massachusetts laws apply to public employers as well as state. As the interest in such laws continues to grow, all levels of government are hearing legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives heard a proposed bill in 2011. Yearly, this issue is raised in state legislative and city/county council sessions throughout the country. In early 2012 there were 32 jurisdictions and as of April 2013 there are fifty.

Many public companies have not removed the question, but have deferred background checks on applicants until after the interview process. Others have voluntarily removed the question. Either way, private employers have to pay attention and adjust to the ever changing landscape of the hiring process.

Visit our site to review the new Maryland law http://mazzellainvestigations.com/informationresources.html 

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