Illinois’ Ban the Box Law on Criminal History and Employment

criminal background checks, employment screening, Illinois defense attorney,Last year, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation adding Illinois to the list of 12 states around the country that allow applicants for government sector jobs to apply for employment without having to disclose previous felony convictions. Recently, he also signed legislation sent to him by the Illinois General Assembly, which extends this new civil rights protection to workers in the private sector as well. Illinois has now become the 5th state in the country that requires both government and private employers to remove mandatory pre-interview job screening questions that relate to previous criminal convictions. The law is set to take effect in January, 2015.

After the initial application though, employers may still be able to ask about criminal histories. Because of this, if you have a previous criminal record, it may be in your best interests to consider the process of expungement to clear your name.

The Ban the Box Campaign

This movement is part of a national campaign called Ban the Box, at this point a decade-old civil rights initiative that appears to be gaining popularity in states and cities around the country. The intent of the Ban the Box campaign is to remove the stigma, if not ongoing punishment in the form of discrimination, that those with convictions or even arrests on their records face in matters of subsequent employment and housing.

Two years ago, the federal government also strengthened its guidelines regarding discrimination on the job against those with arrest or conviction records. The EEOC has also started to prosecute private employers who have a blanket ban on hiring those with any type of felony conviction. In 2012, Pepsi Beverages was ordered to pay $3.13 million in penalties and provide jobs and training to African American applicants after the federal agency ruled that the company had used background checks that created discriminatory hiring practices based on race. Last year the EEOC filed lawsuits against not only the South Carolina production facilities of BMW, but against Dollar General Stores in Illinois, as well, for the same practice. The Illinois lawsuit is a national class action against Dollar General Stores, which charges that the retail chain conditions all of its job offers on criminal background checks and, as a result, discriminates in hiring African American workers.

And these discriminatory practices can have significantly negative impacts on many Americans. Census figures show that roughly one in four Americans, or 70 million, now have a criminal record, which represents a population that the Ban the Box campaign is meant to protect.

Contact Us Today for Professional Legal Assistance

While this movement has been met with stiff resistance, particularly in the ranks of the organized business community, it is important to remember that if and when faced with hiring decisions, it is now a liability to include such questions on pre-employment screening in Illinois.

Of course, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you face no difficulties in securing future employment is by seeking an expungement of your record. For help in the process, contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney can provide you with quality legal service today.

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