Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (Public Act 098-0774) on July 21, 2014, which will go into effect January 1, 2015. The law bans criminal history checks in the private sector until after an applicant is deemed qualified for the job or a condition offer of employment is made.
Below are some details about the approved Act:
- An employer is defined as any person or private entity that has 15 or more employees.
- The Act states that “an employer or employment agency may not inquire about or into, consider, or require disclosure of the criminal record or criminal history of an applicant until the applicant has been determined qualified for the position and notified that the applicant has 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 by the employer or employment agency”. (Section 15(a))
- The Act does not apply to positions where employers are required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions due to federal or State law, a standard fidelity bond or equivalent is required and an applicant’s criminal history would be relevant, or employers employ individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services System Act.
- Interestingly, the Act does not prohibit an employer from notifying applicants in writing of the specific offenses that will disqualify an applicant from employment in a particular position due to federal or State law or the employer’s policy. (Section 15(c))