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Press Releases - County Council

Councilmember Jawando introduces bill to help prevent workplace discrimination, promote fair screening standards

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

“Ban the Box” legislation would prohibit inquiries into certain types of arrests and convictions until after a conditional offer of employment has been extended

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 29, 2020—Today the Montgomery County Council introduced Bill 35-20, Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards – Amendments, which aims to help prevent workplace discrimination by preventing background checks prior to the extension of a conditional offer of employment and preventing inquiries into certain types of arrests and convictions. Councilmember Will Jawando is the lead sponsor of this legislation.

“Here in Montgomery County, we uphold the ideal that people should not be punished continuously for errors in judgement or wrongdoing that happened in the past,” said Councilmember Jawando. “If a person has been through the criminal justice system and paid their debt to society, or if they have been arrested and found not guilty or not charged at all, we believe they should have access to the same opportunities as anyone else. This legislation will strengthen our commitment to those principles and help ensure that residents do not face the undue burden of discrimination when seeking employment.”

In 2014, the Council enacted the “Ban the Box” law, which prohibited employers of 15 or more full-time employees (FTEs) in the County from conducting a criminal background check of a job applicant, or otherwise inquiring about the criminal or arrest history of an applicant, prior to the completion of a first interview.

Bill 35-20 would expand the scope of this law by prohibiting background checks until after a conditional job offer has been extended. The bill also would prevent inquiries about certain crimes altogether. In addition, it would redefine “employer” to include any employer with one or more FTEs in the County.

A Council public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 1:30 p.m. The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Councilmember Jawando’s remarks at the bill’s introduction can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 20-340
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926