Ban The Box

Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards “Ban the Box”

On November 19, 2014, Prince George’s County enacted CB78-2017, the Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards, also known as “Ban the Box”. 

What does this do?

Ban the Box is meant to assist those with criminal records with getting into the work force, by requiring that most employers do not ask any questions about criminal history until after a candidate has had a first interview. There are some exceptions to this requirement, and more details are below.

Who is covered by the Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards (hereafter the Act)? 

Any employer operating and doing business in the County that employs twenty-five (25) or more persons full-time in the County, including the County government. 

Who can file a complaint under the Act?

An applicant who has been subjected to discrimination based on the applicant’s criminal record. 

How the Act defines discrimination?

Discrimination shall mean acting, or failing to act, or unduly delaying any action regarding any person because of arrest or conviction in regard to employment only, in such a way that such person is adversely affected. 

What actions are prohibited by the Act?

The employer shall not inquire on the application of the existence or detail of an applicant’s arrest record or conviction records.

The employer shall not conduct a preliminary inquiry into criminal records until the conclusion of a first interview or require the applicant to disclose whether the applicant has an arrest record or conviction record or otherwise has been accused of a crime; conduct a criminal record check on the applicant; or inquire whether the applicant has an arrest or conviction record or has been accused of a crime. 

The employees shall not retaliate against an applicant for lawfully opposing any violation of this Act or for filing a complaint, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing, and obstructing or preventing enforcement or compliance with the Act. 

What are the responsibilities of an employer?

The employer shall conduct an individualized assessment, considering only specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness to perform the duties of the position sought, the time elapsed since the offense, and any evidence of inaccurately in the record.

If the employer intends to rescind the employment offer, the employer shall provide a copy of any criminal record report to the applicant; shall notify the applicant in writing that it intends to rescind the employment offer and the basis of the decision.

The employer shall delay rescinding the employment offer for seven (7) to permit the applicant to give notice of inaccuracy to the employer. 

If the employer decides to rescind the employment offer, the employer shall provide notification to the applicant in writing. 

Who enforces this Act?

The Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights has the authority to investigate any violation of this Act. 

Who is exempted from this Act?

Employers who provide programs, services, or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults. 

The Act does not apply to any County public safety agencies or to positions that, in the judgment of the County, have access to confidential or proprietary business or personal information, money, or items of value, or involve emergency management. 

If the inquiries prohibited by this Act are required or expressly authorized by an applicable Federal, State, or County law or regulation.