Maryland Background Check

Maryland Background Check

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If you’re a hiring manager for any business or non-profit, you know how hard it is to find good help these days.  What’s even more frustrating is finding the right people who are not only qualified, but also reliable and trustworthy.  This is when a Maryland background check can become tremendously beneficial to your organization.  While getting background check services on your pre-hires is crucial,  understanding employment background check regulations in Maryland is equally important. With this in mind, here are some top issues your organization should be aware of when conducting a state of Maryland background check for any pre-hire. 

Why Look To PreSearch for Background Check Services in Maryland

When it comes to ensuring you have the right person for a vacancy within your organization, you can’t afford to leave anything to chance.  This is especially true in today’s litigious world, and in a job market that is extremely competitive.  Moreover, as a hiring manager, you can’t rely on guesswork when it comes to the pre-hiring process.  It’s crucial to understand Maryland employment laws and remain in compliance.  When you make the smart choice to use PreSearch for your Maryland background check needs, we make the screening process seamless and simple.  We take care of all the details for you so that you can concentrate on hiring the best candidate for your organization without ever worrying about a thing.

How Do You Get a Background Check in Maryland?

As a hiring manager, you have the option of conducting a MD Background check on your own. However, this could be time-consuming and going this route might not give you the comprehensive details you need.  To explain, employers going it on their own must submit a private petition packet to the Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services (MDPSCS).   After submission, the MDPSCS determines whether or not your organization is approved for obtaining a Maryland criminal background check on your pre-hires.  If approved, your pre-hire candidate must submit fingerprints to the state in order for the DPSCS to run a criminal background check.  

As you can see, this can pose a very lengthy process. Waiting on approval and then waiting to receive a MD fingerprint background check could take weeks.  Moreover, going through the state to obtain a background check will only disclose Maryland arrest records or criminal history.  It will not reveal vital information such as employment history, educational credentials, or other critical screening data.

Considering the time-intensive and incomplete results you receive by going through the state, it should be clear that your best bet to obtain a thorough, fast background check for pre-hires is using PreSearch Background Services.  We provide you with a full-spectrum of reports, including educational history, driving records, criminal history – and we do it all while staying compliant with Maryland background check laws.  Even better – we can cut your wait time significantly because we’ll provide you with the critical Maryland background check information you need in a fraction of the time it takes to go through state governmental organizations. 

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Maryland Background Check

Why Should Employers in Maryland Consider Background Checks?

While the State of Maryland criminal background check is certainly a necessity, it won’t give you the overarching insights you need to make the right choice to hire a prospective candidate.  To explain, your business or non-profit may require specialized reports when considering a candidate for employment.  For example, your job vacancy may entail driving a company vehicle. In this scenario, your business would benefit from obtaining driving records.

At the very least, you should consider getting a comprehensive Maryland background check in order to validate work history, confirm educational background, or even assess personal and professional references.  When you come to the understanding that you’re risking the integrity of your business to a virtual stranger – it should be clear that getting a background check is a smart move.  Doing so will enable you to get a better understanding as to whether or not a candidate is who she or he says they are.  Additionally, background checks are essential to assess a candidate’s qualifications and trustworthiness. 

How Does the Process for Background Checks Work in Maryland?

Employers must register with the Maryland Department of Labor (and be approved by the department) each year in order to be eligible to receive background checks on applicants under consideration for employment in the state of Maryland. 

If approved, employers should submit a request for a Maryland criminal check with the state according to Under Maryland law (Code Ann. § 14-1204).  Additionally, employers need to give candidates notice in writing within five days that informs the candidate of his or her rights as well as informs the applicant that they will be subjected to a background investigation.  Applicant notice of rights should include details such as the name and contact information for the MD Commissioner of the Dept. of Labor.

There are other considerations when going through the process of background checks and complying with Maryland employment laws.  For instance, according to Maryland employment code § 3-711, employers may not factor a candidate’s credit history in granting or denying him or her employment.  Nonetheless, an employer can review a candidate’s credit history report after an offer for employment is made.  Please read further to learn more about MD background check laws.

Maryland Employment Background Check Laws

When you use PreSearch, the background check process is easy, simple, and seamless.  It also gives you the freedom to hire without worrying about staying compliant with Maryland employment laws.  To elaborate, here are some of the myriad of laws and regulations involved with legally obtaining a background check on candidates employed in MD.

Federal Background Check Laws

Not only must MD employers be aware of state employment laws – federal hiring laws must also be considered during the pre-hire process.  Failing to comply with any of these laws could lead to litigation, penalties or fines.  The two federal laws employers must be aware of are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Here’s an explanation of each of these federal laws.


The Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed in 1970 as a way to protect consumer information. This includes credit information that might be acquired from an applicant during the pre-hire process.  The Act restricts employers from using credit information to make a decision to award or deny a candidate employment based on a credit report. The FCRA also mandates that employers must give applicants written notice of credit background checks as well as instructs employers on how to proceed if the results are in direct conflict with the position an applicant might hold if hired.

Title VII

This federal law is upheld by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Title VII is part of the Civil Rights Act that was passed in 1964.  The Act is meant to prohibit descrimination in the workplace as well as dissuade employers from discriminating against candidates during the pre-hire process.  

Title VII instructs employers that they cannot grant or deny employment due to a candidate’s status. In other words, employment may not be based on a candidate’s race, religion, gender, or other character points.  There are also specific instructions under Title VII that instruct employers how to proceed if a candidate’s background check reveals an issue, such as criminal activity, that will negatively impact his or her performance in the job position offered.

Maryland State Background Check Laws

In addition to regulations surrounding credit background checks in Maryland before employment, there are other Maryland employment laws that must be followed during the pre-hire process.  Here are a few that bear mentioning:

Maryland’s Ban the Box Law (2012 SB 671)

This law prohibits employers from asking if a candidate has a criminal history before he or she is granted a first interview.  The ban-the-box law was amended in 2020 to state that private employers with 15 or more employees may not ask a candidate about criminal past activity before a first interview.  This law is meant to give individuals with a criminal history a chance at work opportunities as well as prevent employers from excluding employment considerations to candidates who may have a criminal background. 

Maryland’s Social Media Laws

This state law prohibits employers from asking candidates (or hired employees) for their passwords or usernames on their social media accounts.  Employers are also prohibited from asking employees or applicants to add them to their social media accounts.  This means that employers are not allowed to ask candidates or employees to “friend” them on social accounts such as Facebook.

Local Background Check Laws

In addition to federal and state laws, employers must also be aware of local city and county laws.  For instance, Montgomery County’s ban-the-box law applies to both private and public sector employers with 15 or more employees.  In 202, the law was amended with a local ruling that states any employer with one or more employees may not be asked about prior criminal activity or convictions three+ years old before being granted a first in-person interview.

What Shows up in a Background Check in Maryland

When your company utilizes the powerful Maryland background check services of PreSearch, you have access to a wide array of historical information on your applicants.  We can craft a specialized background history report that is tailored to your hiring needs and germane to the position you are hiring for.  

Criminal History

At the minimum, most employers will want to obtain a criminal background check from the state. This will include any kind of criminal activity, arrests or convictions (if committed) on the Maryland criminal background check.  This report will reveal details such as date of arrest, charges, disposition, level of the charge (felony or misdemeanor) and the judgment of sentencing.

Employment Verification

When you consider the applicant in front of you might be a virtual stranger, it just makes sense to verify past employment.  Using PreSearch’s powerful background check services will confirm your candidate has indeed worked where he or she claimed.  Furthermore, an employment verification report will validate dates of employment as well as positions held.

Education Verification

There’s nothing worse than investing time and money in finding the perfect person for the job – only to find out they are not qualified for the position.  That’s when getting education verification is invaluable.  This Maryland background check will confirm the applicant has successfully completed the education he or she claims on an application or resume.  Furthermore, an education history check will also show if an applicant has earned certain degrees, certifications, or training that might be pertinent to the position he or she will hold within your organization.

Maryland Background Check

How Far Back Do Most Employers Go For Background Checks

In most cases, a Maryland background check will go back for seven years.  This period of time is deemed by both federal laws and Maryland employment laws.  This means that specific types of background data such as lawsuits or civil judgments will not show up on a pre-hire check.

There are caveats to the seven year lookback period. For instance, Maryland law prohibits information such as bankruptcies that occurred 10 or more years prior to a background check will not be reported.

State law also prohibits Maryland arrest records, convictions or indictments from being reported if they are older than seven years.  The exception to this rule is that if a potential employee is to earn $20,000 or more in salary, then these records may be reported – even if they are over seven years old.  Alternatively, the FCRA salary cap is $75,000 or more per year.

What Employers Can Ask When Checking Your Background

Maryland employers are allowed to do a criminal background check on candidates who have been interviewed, and are under consideration for employment.  Furthermore, employers are permitted to ask about employment history as well as educational background in order to verify the candidate is qualified for the position.  Nevertheless, it is important for employers to provide candidates written notification that these and other Maryland background checks will be conducted.

How Long Does a Maryland Background Check Take

As a hiring manager, you need information on potential employees fast.  However, you may find that’s not the case if you choose to go through the background check process on your own.  To explain, if you choose to conduct a Maryland criminal background check through the state, you may expect those results to take a significant amount of time.  

This is because going through the state requires a multi-step process that is both timely and cumbersome.  As mentioned, employers must be approved after submitting a private party petition package.  Then, Maryland employers must have candidates submit a fingerprint card along with another written request for a background check.  All of these submissions can take weeks to render results.

A far better alternative is to use a reliable, qualified service such as PreSearch.  We can provide you with accurate, current Maryland background check information in far better timing.  In many cases, it may only take a few hours to receive results.

How Much Can a Background Check Cost in Maryland?

*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.

Please reach out if you would like a quote for background screening services.

As mentioned, if you go through the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, you will pay a fee of $18.00 for a criminal background report.  The fingerprint card processing fee is an additional $20.  Bear in mind that this price will afford you only a criminal background check for the state of Maryland.  It will not buy you criminal reports in other states, or educational or employment history.  

If you attempt to request background information from other companies or agencies, the price for these reports can vary wildly as well as take a significant amount of time.  Additionally, there is no guarantee that these reports will be up-to-date and accurate.  As a hiring manager, you have a far better advantage when using PreSearch Background Check Services because our experts will provide you with bespoke reports that give you the right information at your fingertips for a reasonable price and in a timely manner. 

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