Lawmakers to Consider Shielding Law

The Maryland General Assembly will consider legislation that would shield court and police records for certain misdemeanors from the public, including potential employers. The bill, SB 804/HB 1166, would shield the records relating to a conviction of one of 14 specified crimes three to five years (depending on the offense) after the person completes the sentence imposed for the conviction.

The Maryland Chamber opposes the legislation, which would prevent businesses from obtaining criminal conviction information necessary to evaluate the suitability of applicants for employment, promotion or transfer. 

“What’s being proposed here is something that would take away from most businesses the ability to consider very relevant information in determining who they would hire,” said Darryl McCallum, an attorney with Shawe & Rosenthal LLP. 

McCallum said the list of offenses covered by the bill include crimes of conduct, like disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, which be an indicator of someone’s propensity to violence. Other crimes covered by the bill include crimes of honesty, like theft, and crimes of moral turpitude, like drug offenses or prostitution. “When you think about hiring decisions, things like honesty, moral turpitude and propensity for violence are very relevant considerations that any employer would take into account when deciding who they want to hire,” McCallum said. 

The bill would prevent pharmacies from checking certain drug use or distribution offenses, trucking companies from checking certain driving offenses, businesses that collect money and have access to customers’ personal and confidential information from checking theft offenses. “This Legislation would prohibit those, non-statutory employers from accessing important information that could affect hiring decisions and leave employers liable for not doing due diligence in their research, if a customer/clients information is compromised,” said Maryland Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Deriece Pate Bennett.

For more information, contact Deriece Pate Bennett at dpatebennett@mdchamber.org

Legislative Issues Tag: Employment Issues

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