Bill Introduced to Prohibit an Employer From Requesting Sexual and Reproductive Health Information From Job Applicants in Montgomery County

Per Montgomery County (12.5.23):
“Today Montgomery County Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Dawn Luedtke introduced Bill 44-23 to protect the healthcare information of job applicants from unwarranted, intrusive questions by employers.

The bill would prohibit an employer from requesting an applicant’s sexual and reproductive health information. Further, an employer would be limited in requesting or considering an applicant’s health information unless the information is necessary to evaluate an applicant’s ability to meet minimum job qualifications.

This bill would provide greater protections to employees than currently provided under Maryland state law. Currently under Maryland law, employers may request, but not require, job applicants to provide certain health information, even when the information is unrelated to job duties.

Bill 44-23 would prohibit the practice of even requesting health information unrelated to an applicant’s qualifications for the job. Once the bill is enacted, the Office of Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights would enforce the law and assess civil penalties as appropriate.

Additionally, this new bill expands on previously enacted Bill 5-23, which provides similar protections to prospective employees of Montgomery County government agencies.

“I truly appreciated Councilmember Luedtke’s efforts in leading the enactment of Bill 5-23, which was our first step in protecting job applicants’ health information. After seeing the successful implementation of that bill, I felt strongly the protections should apply to all workers in our County,” said Councilmember Albornoz, who chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “This bill will codify a policy that many employers have already embraced; however, it’s needed to ensure our long-established businesses will review potentially antiquated job application forms to ensure they are not infringing on an applicant’s right to health privacy.”

“Given ongoing threats to reproductive healthcare, it’s more important than ever that people don’t feel forced to divulge private health information that doesn’t relate to their ability to do the job they’re applying for,” Councilmember Luedtke said. “Since enacting legislation earlier this year related to healthcare privacy in County government hiring, our County has been able to improve and modernize its system. The bill being introduced today will extend those protections to all prospective employees in the County.”

A public hearing will be held on Jan. 16, 2024. For more information, the Council staff report can be viewed here.”

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