Illinois Joins 'Ban The Box' Bandwagon by Limiting When Employers Can Ask For or Use Criminal History
Illinois has joined the quickly growing number of states and cities (including Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Newark and Buffalo) that have passed "ban the box" legislation--so named based on the box found on most employment applications asking whether an applicant has ever been convicted of a crime.
The Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which took effect January 1, 2015, prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as all employment agencies, from asking about, requiring disclosure of, or considering an applicant's criminal history, until the employer/employment agency has decided that the applicant is qualified for the job and has notified the applicant of his or her selection for an interview or - if there is no interview - until a conditional job offer has been made
These restrictions do not apply if: (1) employers must exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from an applied-for position under federal or Illinois law (in which case the employer may notify applicants in writing of the specific disqualifying offenses); (2) a standard fidelity or equivalent bond is required, and an applicant's conviction of one or more specific offenses would disqualify him or her from obtaining such a bond (in which case the employer may ask the applicant if he or she has been convicted of any such offenses); or (3) the position is one that requires licensing under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.
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