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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Illinois "Ban the Box" Law Approved

Posted on in Criminal Defense

If you have ever been convicted of a crime, you know how it feels to have to "check the box" on each of your job applications. Not only do you have to disclose this information to complete strangers, but you have to worry about whether they will take your past criminal actions into consideration when ultimately making hiring decisions. Even if you have a clean record, you may have always wondered how checking this box would affect you, should it ever become an issue.

As of January 1, 2015, most employers will no longer be able to inquire about an applicant's criminal history until after the employer extends an offer to the candidate or if an initial determination had been made that the applicant is qualified for an interview. This law essentially will prevent employers from screening applicants based on their criminal histories, allowing qualified applicants a better opportunity to be selected for an interview and, in turn, employment.

Banning the Box on Job Applications

The proper name for "banning the box" is the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act. This Act, approved by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, is a long-awaited victory for those with criminal histories. Ban the Box legislation followed a long history of decisions from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which encouraged employers to hire the most qualified applicants, regardless of a possible criminal history. Regardless of whether employers were lawfully permitted to consider things such as an applicant's criminal history, applicants with criminal records always risked having this negative information come up thereby hurting their chances of consideration for the position.

Are All Illinois Employers Included?

The Act does have limitations. For example, some employers are required by federal and state law to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions, often sexual crimes. Employers that employ individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act are also excluded from compliance. Otherwise, private employers that have 15 or more employees are not permitted to inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of the applicant's criminal history until it is determined the applicant is qualified and selected for an interview or until the employer extends a job offer to the applicant. The same rule applies for employment agencies. It is critical to note that this "ban the box" legislation does not prevent employers from seeking out or obtaining this criminal history information after an applicant has been deemed qualified and selected for an interview or has been extended an offer.

Given the fact that some employers are excluded, it is important to know the law before omitting your criminal history information on a job application. While many Americans admit to lying on their resume in one form or another, misrepresenting your criminal history can have particularly severe consequences. Dishonest applicants risk losing their present job, having future offers pulled, or incurring more severe penalties when dealing with government jobs or when working in the legal profession or law enforcement.

Illinois Expungement and Sealing

Illinois decided to "ban the box" in hopes of allowing those with criminal histories a fresh start and allow their credentials to be considered first before their criminal histories are exposed. But, while Illinois has taken a significant leap in ensuring fairness in hiring, it is important to know that you still may be required to disclose your criminal history after being selected for an interview or being given a job offer. Therefore, it is still in your best interest to expunge or seal your arrest records as soon as you are eligible. Only by expungement or sealing will you truly avoid having to tell your potential employer about your criminal background. Clearing your record before you apply for a job is the best solution.

Questions about Clearing Your Record? Contact an Illinois Expungement or Sealing Lawyer

If you have questions about expunging, vacating, or sealing your criminal records, you need experienced Illinois criminal defense attorneys on your side. The attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. have significant experience in working with their clients& criminal histories. They understand that these criminal convictions are part of your past. Let them help you move on by expunging or sealing your arrests so they will not affect your future. Our Illinois attorneys have two convenient offices in Oak Brook and Naperville to suit your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us today at 630-472-9700 and let us help you make sure your criminal records do not affect your future.

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