State Laws | Illinois
Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Illinois Background Check Laws

What are Illinois background check and ban-the-box laws?

We update this overview of Illinois background check laws and ban-the-box rules often. But laws change quickly, and we cannot guarantee all information is current. Always consult your attorney for legal advice.

  • FCRA
  • District Laws
  • Ban-The-Box

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Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

In order to set a standard for hiring policies, the federal government created the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, which monitors and protects both employers and job candidates.


State Laws

20 ILCS 2635/7 applies to records obtained from the state police, not all criminal records.

Our Take: If a CRA obtains records from The Illinois Department of State Police, the Department requires the CRA to maintain on file a signed release of the criminal record by the applicant. If the record includes conviction information, the CRA must send the applicant a copy of the record. The applicant has 7 days from the time she or he receives the report to contact the CRA if the information is not right.

Illinois Human Rights Act

Our Take: Employers are prohibited from basing an employment decision on an arrest not leading to conviction or on a criminal record that has been expunged, sealed, or impounded. Additionally, Illinois employers are prohibited, except where otherwise authorized by law, from using conviction records in any employment-related decision unless there is a “substantial relationship” between the criminal offense and the position or the employer can show that employing the individual would create an “unreasonable risk” to property or to the safety of others. If an employer wishes to deny employment because of a conviction record, the employer must provide written notice to the individual that specifically identifies the particular conviction record that led to the decision and the employer’s reasoning for why the conviction is disqualifying.

820 ILCS 70 (Employee Credit Privacy Act)

Our Take: Employers are prohibited from requesting or utilizing a current or prospective employee’s credit information when making an employment decision unless an occupational requirement is established.

Ban-The-Box and Fair Hiring Laws


STATE LAWS — PUBLIC COMPANIES

Who Must Follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to private employers in Illinois with 15 more more employees or employment agencies in Illinois.

Timing of inquiry: Private employers in Illinois may only inquire into criminal history after the appilcant has been selected for an interview or, if there is no interview, until after a conditional offer.

Consideration of records: Under a different law, 775 ILCS 5/2-103, employers cannot inquire into or use the fact of an arrest, or a record ordered expunged, sealed, or impounded, as a basis for adverse action.


STATE LAWS — PRIVATE COMPANIES

Who Must Follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public-sector employers for the State of Illinois.

Timing of Inquiry: Public sector employers for the State of Illinois may not inquire into criminal history until the candidate has been deemed eligible and is being considered for a specific position.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment: This location requires the employer to conduct an individualized assessment prior to sending a final adverse action notice

Consideration of records: Under a different law, 775 ILCS 5/2-103, employers cannot inquire into or use the fact of an arrest, or a record ordered expunged, sealed, or impounded, as a basis for adverse action.


LOCAL LAWS — PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMPANIES

See which Illinois counties and cities have local ban-the-box and fair hiring laws.