Ban the Box

A photo of a request for criminal background check with a "no" sign over it

Image Transcript: Say no to a  "Request for a Criminal Background Check".

What is Ban the Box?

On August 13, 2014, the City of Baltimore joined 9 other jurisdictions in "banning the box." Ban the Box makes it illegal for employers to conduct a criminal record check or ask an applicant if they have a criminal history before they are given an offer of conditional employment.

If you would like to begin the process for filing a complaint online, you can do so on this page: File a complaint ONLINE

What will Ban the Box do?

The goal of Ban the Box is to make sure that everyone in the City of Baltimore has a fair opportunity to work.  When everyone can work, the City is healthier and stronger. 

In the City of Baltimore, applicants should be assessed on their abilities and qualifications.  Ban the Box makes this possible. Employers can no longer immediately turn away an applicant because of a criminal record.  Instead, employers must first evaluate an application on its own merit. This does not mean that Ban the Box limits an employer's ability to choose the most qualified and appropriate applicant.  Rather, Ban the Box makes sure that employers are able to evaluate all applicants fairly and accurately.

What is an offer of conditional employment?

An employer or other group that seeks to employ or retain someone may make an offer subject to any contingency expressed at the time of the offer.  These contingencies might include physical exams, immigration, resume checks, license checks, driving records, relocation, criminal background checks, or any other matter.  Only after an offer of conditional employment has been offered can an employer inquire about an applicant's criminal record.

What employers are covered by Ban the Box?

Any employer with the equivalent of ten or more full-time employees is covered by the law. 

What employees are covered by Ban the Box?

The following types of workers are protected by Ban the Box:

  • Any worker working for a form of pay
  • Any worker participating in vocational or educational training
  • Any worker who works contractual, temporary, seasonal, and contingent work.

Are there any exceptions?

There are certain employers who are not covered by the Ban the Box Legislation.  Any facility or employer that provides programs, services, or direct care to minors or to vulnerable adults is allowed to conduct a criminal record check prior to a conditional offer of employment.

Want to know more?

If you would like to learn more about Ban the Box, you can visit the Ban the Box campaign website by clicking here. 

If you would like to read the Ban the Box legislation, you can download the subtitle found in the City Code here:PDF icon Fair Criminal-Record Screening Practices.pdf

View our Ban the Box poster here: PDF icon Ban The Box Poster (final)_2.pdf

For a list of resources for returning citizens, click here: PDF icon ReEntry Programs.pdf