New Law Prohibits Maryland Employers from Using Applicant and Employee Credit Information


Effective October 1, 2011, Maryland employers, with limited exception, will no longer be able to request or use an applicant's or employee's credit report or credit history to make employment decisions.

The Job Applicant Fairness Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly this session, applies to employers of all sizes. The Act allows an employer to request or use an applicant's or employee's credit information only after an offer of employment has been extended. Yet, even then, credit information cannot be used to deny employment, terminate the employee, or determine the terms, conditions and privileges of employment, including compensation.

However, an employer with a "bona fide purpose" that is "substantially job-related" can continue to request and use an applicant's or employee's credit information, if such use is disclosed in writing to the applicant or employee, and the position available, is managerial, allows the employee access to personal information, involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, provides for an expense account, debit or credit card for the employee or allows the employee access to confidential business information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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