January 29, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 29

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January 27, 2023

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Reminder: Illinois Ban-the-Box Legislation Effective January 1

Employers are reminded that as of January 1, 2015, most Illinois employers will no longer be permitted to include a question about criminal convictions in their employment applications.

The “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” prohibits employers, or any agent of an employer, from considering or inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal record or history until the individual has been determined qualified for the position and notified of an impending interview, or, if the applicant will not be interviewed, until after a conditional offer of employment is made. The Act explicitly excludes three categories of job applicants from this restriction. Applicants for all other positions will be entitled to the protections of the Act. 

The Act applies to any employer that is considering an applicant. An “employer” is any person or private entity that has at least 15 employees in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person or entity.

The Act does not apply in the following situations:

  • If the employer is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment under federal or state law;

  • If a standard fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required and a conviction of certain criminal offenses would disqualify the applicant from obtaining such a bond, the employer may inquire whether the applicant has ever been convicted of those offenses prior to determining whether the individual is qualified for the position; and

  • If the employer hires individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act.

Alleged violations of the Act will be investigated by the Illinois Department of Labor and violations will result in progressively substantial civil penalties. We anticipate that the Department will issue regulations in the first quarter of 2015.

(For more details on the Act, please see our article, Illinois Passes Ban-the-Box Legislation Limiting Employers’ Criminal Background Checks on Applicants.)

Recommendations

Covered employers should not conduct a criminal background check or ask about an applicant’s criminal background prior to scheduling an interview or, if the applicant will not be interviewed, before making a conditional offer of employment. Employers also should review job descriptions and requirements carefully to determine whether any positions fall under one of the listed exceptions. 

If you have questions regarding this new statute or need assistance to review application materials and procedures to ensure compliance with the Act, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work. 

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2023National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 364
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About this Author

Kathryn Moran, Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Principal

Kathryn Montgomery Moran is a Principal and the Office Litigation Manager of the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She has extensive litigation experience in individual and class action cases in state and federal courts and administrative agencies.

When disputes cannot be resolved by agreement or dismissed on technical grounds, Ms. Moran tries cases before juries, judges, administrative law judges and arbitrators. She has successfully defended employers accused of the following: age, sex, race, disability and...

312-787-4949
Paul Patten, Employment, Management, Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Principal

Paul Patten is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He represents management in employment cases in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies.

Mr. Patten’s practice focuses primarily on employment litigation and counseling. He represents employers in federal and state individual and class-based lawsuits covering a wide range of statutes and subjects, including federal and state anti-discrimination and wage and hour laws.

312-803-2570
Susan M. Corcoran, Jackson Lewis, fair credit reporting lawyer, Labor Policy Attorney
Principal

Susan M. Corcoran is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis, P.C. Ms. Corcoran is a seasoned employment counselor and litigator and is often thought of as the “go to” person on national workplace law issues for her clients.

She is one of the leaders of the firm’s Background Check Resource Group, and serves as a resource on fair credit reporting act issues, as well as “ban the box” strategies. She taught a graduate employment law class for many years at Manhattanville College and frequently speaks...

914-872-6871
Richard Greenberg, Jackson Lewis, workplace grievances lawyer, arbitrations litigation attorney
Principal

Richard Greenberg is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He advises both unionized and union-free clients on a full-range of labor and employee relations matters.

With respect to traditional labor matters, Mr. Greenberg represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, labor disputes, grievances and arbitrations, proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and in state and federal court. Mr. Greenberg also advises clients on the legal aspects of remaining union-free....

212-545-4080
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