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Illinois State Employment Laws

The state of Illinois has restrictions on what can be reported in a background screening report beyond what the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates.

Ban the Box: Use of criminal record only after an applicant meets minimum employment qualificationsAs of January 1, 2015, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees (in the past or current year) and all employment agencies from asking of, requiring disclosure of, or considering an applicant’s criminal history, until the employer/employment agency has decided 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.

See the statute here for more information.

Notable Exceptions: Besides the less than 15 employees waiver, this restriction does not apply when: (1) under federal or state law employers are required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from an applied-for position under federal; or (2) when a standard fidelity or equivalent bond is required and a conviction would disqualify the applicant 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 requires licensing per the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.
Key Municipal Employment Restriction on Private EmployersEmployers in Chicago have additional restrictions, per Executive Order 2018-1.
Use of Credit ReportAn employer may not inquire about or obtain a credit report unless the employer is excluded or there is an exemption for a specific position. The use of credit header information is specifically authorized. There are excluded employers and excluded positions - see the next two sections.

See the statute here for more information.

Notable Exceptions: Positions Exempted from exclusion: 1) State or federal law requires bond or surety for position; 2) Employee has custody or unsupervised access to cash or marketable assets exceeding $2,500, assets include cargo/inventory, but not fixtures, furnishings or equipment of employer. 3) Employee has signatory power of business assets of $100 or more; 4) A managerial position that can direct or control a business; 5) Employee will have access to personal, confidential and financial information, trade secrets, or state or national security information. These terms are defined by Act but are common definitions. 6) The EEOC or Illinois Department of Labor determines position is appropriate for a credit report; 7) State or federal law requires position to have a credit report.
Use of Social Media Password InformationEffective January 1, 2013, Illinois law protects current and prospective employees' right to privacy. House Bill 3782 made it illegal for an employer to request an employee's or job applicant's social network account information - such as username or password - in order to gain access to the account or profile. The law does not prohibit an employer from viewing or using information publicly available on social media.

See the statute here for more information.
Use of Worker's Comp recordAn employer may not inquire about past worker’s comp injuries or benefits received.

See the statute here for more information.
Use or inquiry of sealed, expunged, pardoned or erased recordsAn employment application must state that the applicant need not disclose any expunged arrest or conviction.

See the statute here for more information.
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