Legal Alerts

25 Jul 2014

New Illinois Legislation – “Ban the Box” Limits an Employer’s Right to Consider Criminal History in Hiring

Laws are becoming more restrictive with respect to the timing of the collection and the consideration of job applicants’ criminal history information. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (HB 5701) making it unlawful for an employer with 15 or more employees to ask on its job application whether the applicant has any criminal history.

Employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of a criminal history until the applicant has been determined qualified for the position and has been notified that he or she has been selected for an interview. In the alternative, if there is no interview, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of a criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment is made.

There are a few exceptions. These new requirements do not affect employers who are required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment due to Federal or State law, or employers with employees covered by the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Act. The requirements also do not apply to positions where a standard fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required and an applicant’s conviction would disqualify the applicant from obtaining such a bond.

The new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. We recommend New Illinois Legislation employers review and revise job applications and their pre-employment/hiring processes before Jan. 1, 2015 to ensure compliance with the new law.

If you have any questions about use of applicant criminal histories or any other questions regarding acceptable pre-employment inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Karen Milner or Corey Franklin.

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