JOB APPLICANT FAIRNESS ACT: NEW LIMITS ON CREDIT CHECKS IN EMPLOYMENT
Effective October 1, 2011, the “Job Applicant Fairness Act,” prohibits employers from using an applicant’s or employee’s credit report or history to take a prohibited employment action against that individual. Prohibited actions include denying employment to an applicant, discharging an employee, and determining compensation or other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. In today’s economic times, many of us have seen our credit score go down a bit. Particularly in jobs where people may handle money, such as cashiers, bookkeepers and accountants, employers may be concerned that one’s financial difficulties could impact performance. Even in jobs where one does not have access to money, there are prejudices against those who may have experienced financial problems. This law is intended to stop that type of prejudice from happening. Complaints alleging violations of this law should be filed with the Commissioner for Labor and Industry, Ronald DeJulis, at Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation. For further information, please call our office.
UPDATE: HAMNER, ET AL. V. JOHN LEOPOLD, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
As many of you know, this office represents Karla Hamner and Joan Harris, two women involved in the case against Anne Arundel County alleging discrimination against women based upon sexual harassment by the County Executive. Since the beginning of the case, attorney’s being paid by the County’s Office of Law have spent countless hours at taxpayer expense attempting to discredit the allegations. This defense has included claims of abuse by my office and the women. Despite repeated attempts, all these attorneys have managed to do is to get John Leopold off the hook personally and to leave all the liability on the County’s shoulders. It would seem to be a clear conflict of interest to have the attorneys paid by the County effectively knocking out another defendant who would have had to share in paying any judgment. The County suffered from that decision, not the plaintiffs. Despite attempts to get the cases thrown out, the County has been unsuccessful and we only await a judge’s ruling on whether these women will be forced to prosecute their case separately, each paying their own expenses, as opposed to being able to share the costs of bringing this action on behalf of all of the women working for the County.
The County has alleged that these women’s claims are of no substance and that they are just “disgruntled” employees. Unfortunately for them, not everyone agrees. The State Prosecutor whose job consists of investigating and prosecuting corruption and illegal conduct by elected public officials seemingly believes the womens’ stories. He has spent many days and hours bringing witness after witness forward, including the police who drove Leopold around, as well as witnesses who are employed by the County to testify before a Grand Jury. Most folks believe that “where there is smoke, there is fire,” as this Grand Jury has continued to hear witnesses. Action is expected soon and it is not out of the question that there will be indictments against numerous public officials who are are named or talked about in the lawsuit these women have brought. You judge: disgruntled or courageous. My bet is on the latter.