Emphasizing the need for fair employment practices, the Illinois government has instituted restrictions on the types of records employers may access and how they may use those records. In addition to statewide and local laws banning the box, there are other restrictions employers may find more stringent than in other states. To help understand your rights and responsibilities when requesting a background check in Illinois, please use the following overview.
Employers in Illinois may not use arrest records as a basis for employment decisions. Circumstantial evidence or other indications that would imply prior arrests are acceptable.
Public employers must comply with
Ban the Box
The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act is a statewide ban the box law that went into effect in 2015. All private businesses that employ more than 15 people must comply with this law. No inquiries into criminal histories are allowed until after an employer provides the applicant with an interview or a conditional job offer. Positions with background checks already mandated by law are excluded. Employers beware: violations of this act result in warnings and the potential for hefty fines.
Chicago banned the box for public employers in 2006, and in 2014 the city expanded the ordinance to cover all employers within the city. Notably, Chicago's laws cover businesses with fewer than 15 employees as well, going further than the state statute.
Employers cannot ask about any criminal records currently under seal or which have been expunged and must include a clear and visible statement on all job applications that individuals do not have to disclose such information.
Illinois generally precludes employers from using credit history information in making employment determinations, including data such as credit score and payment histories. Exceptions apply, including in cases where the job would involve public safety, the handling of cash, or banking.