On March 23, 2021, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Employee Background Fairness Act. The new law adds an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) regarding how an employer can address a potential employee’s criminal conviction record. Under the IHRA, a person’s arrest record can not be held against them in the hiring process or once they have been hired, however, the new law extends these protections to a person’s conviction record. The new law went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signing.
Any individual – whether going through the hiring process or already working for an employee – who feels that they are being discriminated against because of a prior conviction or convictions may file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR).
The law does have two exceptions where an employer can consider an individual’s conviction record either during the hiring process or after that individual is already employed by the company:
In addition to amending the IDHR, the new also strengthens the Illinois Equal Pay Act. Employers in the private sector with over 100 employees will now be required to apply to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) to obtain equal pay registration certificates. In order to obtain these certificates, the employer will need to show proof of wages paid to all employees during the prior year and what the race, gender, and ethnicity were of each of these employees. If an employer fails to obtain a certificate, they face a civil penalty of 1 percent of their gross profits.
If you are an employer who is facing potential legal action due to allegations of discrimination by a current or former employee on the basis of of past arrests or convictions, contact the Miller Law Firm, P.C. to find out what legal options you may have. Call 847-995-1205 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Schaumburg, IL employment law attorneys.