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Chicago Amends Criminal History Screening Ordinance


Chicago’s ban the box ordinance has been in effect for over ten years. However, after amendments were made to the Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (JOQAA), Chicago followed suit. Under the amended ordinance, which takes effect immediately, an employer may not base an adverse employment action on an individual’s criminal conviction record unless (1) there is a “substantial relationship” between the individual’s criminal offense(s) and the job sought or held or (2) based on the individual’s criminal offense(s), the employer believes that the individual poses an unreasonable risk to the property or safety of the company’s workforce, customers, or members of the public.

To reach a determination, the employer must conduct an “individualized assessment,” taking the following factors into account:

  • The length of time that has passed since the conviction occurred.
  • The number of convictions reflected on the individual’s record.
  • The nature and severity of the conviction and its relationship to the safety and security of others.
  • The specific facts or circumstances surrounding the conviction.
  • The age of the employee at the time of the conviction.
  • Evidence indicating efforts toward rehabilitation.

The ordinance also requires that employers provide a pre-adverse action notice and a final adverse action notice to any individual subject to an adverse employment decision based on criminal history. In those notices, employers must:

(1) include the employer’s specific reasoning for the disqualification from employment within both the pre-adverse action notice and final adverse action notice; and

(2) state within their final adverse action notice that the individual has the right to file a charge within the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

Click here for more information.

As always, Hire Image is here to help. Please contact us if you have any questions about this or any other law that may impact your screening practices.

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