Montgomery County, Maryland has enacted legislation (Bill 35-20) that amends the county's law governing criminal history inquiries to cover more employers and establish greater restrictions. Bill 35-20 takes effect February 19, 2021.
Under Montgomery County's existing Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (FCRSS), employers must wait until the conclusion of the first interview to conduct criminal history inquiries. Currently, the FCRSS apply to employers with 15 or more full-time employees in the county.
Effective February 19, 2021, Bill 35-20 amends the FCRSS to require employers to wait until after they have extended a conditional job offer to conduct criminal history inquiries. Bill 35-20 will also extend the FCRSS to cover employers with one or more employees in the county.
Additionally, Bill 35-20 prohibits employers, at any time, from: requiring an applicant to disclose, conducting a criminal record check to determine, or otherwise inquiring whether the applicant has:
- Been arrested for, or has an arrest record for, a matter that didn't result in a conviction;
- An arrest record, or a conviction record for, or otherwise has been accused of a first conviction of trespass or disturbance of the peace under state law;
- A conviction of a misdemeanor if at least three years have passed since the date of conviction and any period of incarceration for the misdemeanor ended; or
- A matter for which records are confidential or expunged under state law.
Further, employers are prohibited from basing a hiring or promotion decision upon any item in an arrest record or a conviction record described above.
Employers in Montgomery County should review hiring policies and practices to ensure compliance with Bill 35-20 by February 19, 2021. Anyone involved in the hiring process should also be trained on the amended FCRSS. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.