• Maryland's Job Applicant Fairness Act
  • September 16, 2011 | Authors: Jonathan Landesman; Mark J. Leavy
  • Law Firm: Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC - Philadelphia Office
  • On April 12, 2011, Maryland enacted the "Job Applicant Fairness Act," which goes into effect on October 1, 2011. This law prohibits most Maryland employers from using credit reports and credit histories when making hiring decisions and undertaking other employment actions. There are 17 other states with similar legislation currently pending, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut, and New York.

    Generally, the law prohibits employers from using a job applicant's or employee's credit report or credit history in making hiring, firing, and other employment decisions (pay, benefits, promotions, etc). However, there are certain exemptions. Employers can use credit information if it is "substantially jobrelated," and then only for specific purposes relating to:

    • Managerial positions involving direction or control of part or all of the business;
    • Positions that are provided with expense accounts or corporate credit or debit cards;
    • Positions involving access to personal information of employees, customers or the employer;
    • Positions involving access to the employer's protected trade secrets and intellectual property or confidential business information; or
    • Positions involving money-handling (authority to issue payments, collect debts, transfer money or enter into contracts).

    Also, certain kinds of employers are exempt from the law, including financial institutions, investment advisors, and other employers legally required to perform credit checks or histories.

    Maryland employers will need to review their employment application process and employment policies to comply with this law.