It’s officially January, which means that Illinois’ new “Ban the Box” requirements – which prohibit most employers from asking about criminal history on employment applications and in the initial stages of the hiring process – are now the law.
The “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” prohibits Illinois employers with more than fifteen employees (in the current or previous year) from asking about criminal convictions on employment applications. The new law also prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until the applicant has been deemed a qualified applicant and notified of a scheduled interview, or, if there is not an interview, until a job offer has been made. Exceptions apply if an employer is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions under federal or state law, if criminal convictions would automatically disqualify an applicant from certain positions, or if an employer hires individuals under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.
As noted in our previous post, Illinois employers should check their employment applications and review their hiring policies to ensure compliance with the new law.