Illinois Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

Illinois Background Checks: What you need to know

There are a number of ways for employers to gather information on the background of an applicant for employment. Employers may simply call an applicant's former employer to confirm the applicant's dates of employment and title and to try to obtain a more detailed reference from a supervisor. However, more and more frequently, employers are hiring third parties to conduct background checks on applicants who have been offered employment. In addition, depending on the nature of the position, employers are requesting reports about an applicant's driving record, criminal record, and/or credit history. There are strict legal limits on employers' obtaining and using this type of information. When employers hire a third party to conduct a background check or to obtain reports from outside agencies, such reports are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws. In Illinois, employers must comply with laws concerning criminal background checks, credit histories, credit checks, and driver's record information.
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The Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from inquiring about a job applicant's criminal history until the applicant is notified that he or she has been selected for an interview (IL Stat. Comp. Ch. 820 Sec. 75/1). If there is no interview, inquiries may not be made until after the employer extends a conditional offer of employment. Employers should remove any inquiries about criminal history from employment application forms to ensure compliance with the law.
Exceptions to the law apply when:
• Employers are required by state or federal law to exclude applicants with certain ...

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