Ban The Box FAQ

What is Ban the Box?

Ban the Box, officially the Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Law (Bill 36-14), was enacted by Montgomery County Council October 28, 2014 and signed into law by the County Executive on November 10, 2014. The law prohibits employers from inquiring about arrests, accusations of crime, or criminal convictions in the application process until the conclusion of a first interview.  

What are the restrictions on the use of criminal record histories?

Ban the Box prohibits potential employers from:

  • On the employment application, inquiring about any (1) arrest or accusation of crime or (2) criminal conviction.
  • Before the conclusion of a first employment interview, (1) inquiring about any arrest or accusation of crime; (2) inquiring about any criminal conviction or (3) conducting any background check or inquiries regarding any arrest, accusation of crime, or criminal conviction.

A potential employer may make inquiry regarding an applicant’s arrest, accusation of crime, or conviction before the conclusion of a first interview only if first voluntarily disclosed by the applicant. Once such information is voluntarily provided by the applicant the employer may ask follow up questions to clarify information. In addition a potential employer my make inquiries concerning an applicant’s work history when there are gaps in employment.

What is the intended purpose of Ban the Box?

Assist in the successful reintegration into the workforce of people with criminal records by removing improper barriers to employment and enhance the health and safety of the community by assisting people with criminal records to lawfully provide for themselves and their families.  Encourage the hiring of people with criminal records and to ensure that employers screen applicants based on their work qualifications, without sole consideration of their prior criminal history.

When does Ban the Box go into effect?

January 1, 2015

Which employers are subject to Ban the Box?

With certain specified exceptions, the law applies to the County and all private employers doing business in the County that employ 15 or more full-time employees in the County.

Which employers are exempt from the law?

The law does not apply to the federal or state government as an employer in the County. The law does not apply to the County Police Department, the County Fire and Rescue Service, or the County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Other exempt employers include those that provide program or services to vulnerable adults or minors and employers requiring federal security clearance. Finally, the law does not apply to inquiries expressly authorized by federal, state, or county law or regulation.

What are the other consequences failing to comply?

A violation of the Ordinance may require any employer except the County to pay a civil penalty to the County of $1,000 for each violation.  Complainant will not receive any compensation or other damages for a violation of Ban the Box.

Who enforces Ban the Box?

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights enforces the ordinance.

How can I file a complaint for a violation of Ban the Box?

If you feel that your potential or current employer has violated Ban the Box, you can file a complaint with the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (MCOHR). You can complete a complaint form in person at our office Monday through Friday from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm. You can also print a copy of the form from our website, complete the form and send it to our office. Telephone calls and inquiries are also welcome at any time during business hours.

If my complaint is accepted MCOHR, what will be the process?

Your case will be assigned to an investigator for a formal investigation. Every effort will be made to determine the existence of a violation of this ordinance. If a violation is found; every attempt will be made to resolve the complaint.  If evidence of no violation is determined then the case will be dismissed. 

Where can I receive additional information about the MCOHR and Ban the Box?

For more information on how to file a complaint call the MCOHR at 240-777-8450 or visit the website at .