Montgomery County Significantly Expands Ban-the-Box Law

Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive, recently signed into law a bill that significantly expands prohibitions on employers inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record (commonly known as “Ban-the-Box” laws). Montgomery County’s new Ban-the-Box law expands these prohibitions to all employers and expands the prohibition of inquiries into more types of criminal records. This Ban-the-Box law, which goes into effect on February 19, 2021, goes much farther than the statewide Maryland law, and employers should take note to avoid potential penalties.

Bill 34-20 prohibits an inquiry into a criminal record at any time before the extension of a conditional offer to an applicant. Previously, the law prohibited inquiry before the conclusion of the first interview. Additionally, an employer may not inquire into or consider, at any time, the following criminal matters:

  • The applicant has been arrested for, or has an arrest record for, a matter that did not result in an conviction; or
  • The applicant has an arrest record or a conviction record for, or otherwise has been accused of (1) a first conviction of trespass or disturbance of the peace, (2) a conviction of a misdemeanor if at least 3 years have passed since the date of conviction and the date that any incarceration for the misdemeanor ended, (3) juvenile records, or (4) expunged criminal records.

Bill 34-20 does not alter provisions of Montgomery County’s existing Ban-the-Box law that exempt employers that provide programs, services, or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults, or for positions that require a federal government security clearance from compliance with the law.

Meredith S. Campbell
Chair, Employment and Labor Group

Co-Chair, Corporate Investigations, Governance and Risk Management T(301)255-0550, Employment and Labor Group