Prince George’s County is the latest Maryland County to hop on the Ban the Box bandwagon.

Starting January 20, 2015, employers with at least twenty-five full-time employees in Price George’s County (MD) are prohibited from asking an applicant about his or her criminal record until the conclusion of the applicant’s first interview. Once the Council’s enactment goes into effect, Prince George’s County will join Montgomery County (MD) and the District of Columbia as the most recent Metro area locality to “ban the box.”

Following an applicant’s first interview, an employer may inquire about and consider the applicant’s criminal record so long as the inquiry is consistent with applicable federal and state law. In making an employment decision based on an applicant’s criminal record, an employer must conduct an “individualized assessment” of the applicant’s criminal record, “considering only specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness to perform the duties of the position sought by the applicant, the time elapsed since the specific offenses, and any evidence of inaccuracy in the record.”

If an employer wishes to rescind an offer of employment based on an applicant’s criminal record, before rescinding the offer, the employer must notify the applicant of the employer’s intention to rescind the offer, provide the applicant with a copy of applicant’s criminal record report and indicate the items that are the basis for the employer’s intent to rescind. The employer must then wait seven days after notifying the applicant of the employer’s intention to rescind to give the applicant the opportunity to review his or her criminal record report and ensure that the information reflected in the report is accurate. Following this period, the employer must inform the applicant of its final decision to rescind the offer in writing.

Although the DC, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County enactments follow the same general framework, for employers with multiple offices around the DC-metro area, it is important to be aware of the differences between these ordinances (see below).

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