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Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act

Published by on June 18, 2011

Effective October 1, 2011, employers in Maryland will no longer be allowed to request credit reports from employees or prospective employees to make employment decisions.  More after the break. The Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act will prohibit employers from using credit reports (or credit history) in making employment decisions such as whether to hire a […]

Effective October 1, 2011, employers in Maryland will no longer be allowed to request credit reports from employees or prospective employees to make employment decisions.  More after the break.

The Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act will prohibit employers from using credit reports (or credit history) in making employment decisions such as whether to hire a prospective employee, discharge a current employee, or determine compensation and other terms and conditions of employment.  There are several exceptions under the law.  Employers who have a bona fide purpose for requesting or using a credit report that is substantially job-related and disclosed in writing are exempted.  The law identifies several positions that fit this criteria, including managerial positions that involve setting the direction or control of a business or portion of a business, positions that involve access to personal information (except for personal information customarily provided in retail transactions) or that involve a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, positions that are provided expense accounts or corporate cards, and positions that have access to trade secrets or other confidential business information.

Employers who violate the law may be subject to civil penalties of up to $500 for an initial violation, and $2,500 for subsequent violations.  The law does not prohibit employers from using a consumer report or investigative consumer report that is authorized under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and does not involve credit information.

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