Illinois Employers Subject to New Background Check Requirements

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On March 23, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that imposes new requirements on Illinois employers that utilize criminal history checks for employment purposes. Under this new bill (SB1480), employers in Illinois must fulfill three specific requirements before making an employment decision based upon a candidate’s conviction record: They must perform an individualized assessment, follow the adverse action notification process, and inform individuals of their right to file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA).

For companies that do business outside of Illinois, these requirements likely look very familiar as they’re in line with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance. The FCRA is the federal law that governs the preparation and utilization of consumer reports, including (but not limited to), the usage of a candidate’s criminal record to make an employment decision. If employers do not follow the new IHRA provisions, not only may they be putting themselves at risk of a discrimination charge under the IHRA, but it may also be argued that the employer violated the FCRA. Employers may want to consider consulting with their attorney to ensure their internal policies are up to date.

If your team has not recently evaluated your background screening process to determine if it meets IHRA and FCRA compliance standards, reach out to us at for assistance.

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