Illinois criminal record guidelines

The Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Using conviction records in employment-related decisions is considered to be a civil rights violation unless there is a “substantial relationship” between the criminal offense and the position or involve an “unreasonable risk”. This amendment mirrors the EEOC guidelines that have been in place for decades. Employers in Illinois are required to consider the following factors:

  • The length of time since the conviction;
  • The number of convictions that appear on the conviction record;
  • The nature and severity of the conviction and its relationship to the safety and security of others;
  • The facts or circumstances surrounding the conviction;
  • The age of the employee at the time of the conviction; and
  • Evidence of rehabilitation efforts.

An employer that intends to deny employment based on either exemption, “substantial relationship” to the occupation or “unreasonable risk” must supply the candidate with a copy of the record and provide five days for the candidate to respond to the employer that the exemptions should not apply in their case. If the employer denies employment after the previous step. The employer must send notification to the candidate that explains the reason for their decision, the opportunity for reconsideration and notify the candidate of their right to file discrimination charges with the Illinois Department of human rights.