Council Enacts Albornoz-Luedtke Bill to Safeguard Job Applicants’ Healthcare Privacy

The County Council enacted Bill 44-23 on Tuesday to safeguard the healthcare information of job applicants from unwarranted and intrusive inquiries by employers.

Introduced by Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Dawn Luedtke, the bill prohibits employers from requesting applicants’ sexual and reproductive health information. Furthermore, employers will be limited in requesting or considering an applicant’s health information unless it is necessary to evaluate their ability to meet published job qualifications.

Bill 44-23 provides greater employee protections than currently offered under Maryland state law. It ensures that employers do not inquire about individuals’ reproductive or sexual health – an issue that has gained significance in light of the recent Supreme Court decision restricting healthcare rights, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2002).

The Office of Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights will enforce the law and assess civil penalties as appropriate.

“As we look to the national landscape and the continuing threats to women’s reproductive rights as well as to sexual health privacy, I am proud that we are doing the right thing here in Montgomery County,” said Councilmember Albornoz, who chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. ”This bill will codify a policy that many of our county employers have already embraced; however, it’s needed to ensure our long-established businesses will update any antiquated job applications so that they are not infringing on an applicant’s right to health privacy.”

“People should not feel forced to divulge private health information that has no impact on whether they can perform the duties of a job,” said Councilmember Luedtke. “This privacy is paramount as we seek to increase access to preventative health care services, protect against threats to reproductive health, and remove barriers to women entering the workforce. Thank you Councilmember Albornoz and the Council for strongly supporting this expansion of health care privacy to all prospective employees in Montgomery County.”

The Council staff report can be viewed online (PDF) for more information.

Photo: © mehaniq41 – / Montgomery County graphic

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