Maryland passes legislation banning credit checks from employment screening

pre-employment background screening. It has joined Hawaii, Washington, Illinois and Oregon by curbing employers use of employment credit checks, and is another state who agrees that an individual’s personal financial situation should not be applicable when considering their ability to perform a job. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act on April 12, 2011 which prohibits employers use of credit reports in determining an applicant’s suitability for a vacant job position. Nonetheless, like the other states who have passed such a bill, there are exceptions. These include applicants for positions within financial institutions as well as those who are regulated or required to do so by state and, or federal law. The Act also provides limited exceptions that allow employers to request or use credit information where such information is related to a bona fide purpose that is substantially job-related. The bona fide purpose exception generally applies to those positions involving money-handling or other confidential job duties. For instance, employers may request credit information for employees who are provided expense accounts or corporate credit cards, and employees who have access to confidential business information. When this happens, the employer must make the employee aware of their investigations. Violators of the law are subject to fines of up to $500 for an initial violation and up to $2,500 for repeat violations. The law is set to take effect on October 1, 2011.]]>

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