Illinois Bans the Box - July 22nd, 2014

On July 19, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act.  This law restricts an employer or employment agency from inquiring into, considering, or requiring the disclosure of a criminal record or criminal history of an applicant until the applicant has been determined to be qualified for the position and has been notified that they have been selected for an interview by the employer or employment agency, or if there is not an interview, until after a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.

This law applies to any person or private entity that has 15 or more employees in the current or previous calendar year.  This law does not apply to employers that are required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions due to Federal or State Law, when a standard fidelity bond or equivalent is required and the applicant’s conviction would disqualify the applicant from obtaining the bond or employers who employ individuals under the Emergency Medical Services Act.

This law does not prevent an employer from notifying applicants in writing of the specific offenses that will disqualify an applicant from a particular position, due to Federal or State law or the employers policy.

The Illinois Department of Labor will investigate any possible violations of this act and can impose a warning for the first violation and civil penalties for subsequent violations.

The Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act becomes effective on January 1, 2015.  The full text can be found here: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09800HB5701enr&GA=98&SessionId=85&DocTypeId=HB&LegID=&DocNum=5701&GAID=12&Session=