Criminal Background Check and “Ban the Box”
Effective January 1, 2015, Illinois legislature enacted a law that requires private employers with 15 or more employees to remove “the box” on their employment applications which asks whether or not the applicant has been convicted of a felony. Thus the name “Ban the Box”.
Some employers ask that potential applicants complete an employment application before an interview or job offer. In the past, most employment applications asked whether or not the person has been convicted of a felony or a similar question.
With the new law in place, employers are now compelled to consider only whether or not the applicant is “qualified” for the job based on information provided by the applicant and prior to an interview. Once a decision has been made to conduct an interview or provide a conditional offer of employment, then the employer may require a criminal background check.
There are three exceptions to this rule: 1) if federal or state law excludes specific criminal convictions because of the nature of the position being applied for, 2) if a fidelity or equivalent bond is required and certain convictions would disqualify the candidate, or 3) the position requires an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) license.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Unfortunately it sometimes takes a tragedy such as the recent shooting of Nadia Ezaldein at Nordstrom store by her ex-boyfriend, Marcus Dee, to make us as business owners think about what we could have done to prevent this from happening in our place of business. Fortunately, the State of Illinois has 2 little known laws in place that can offer both employees and employers some added protection from domestic violence and abuse in the workplace. These are the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) and the Workplace Violence Prevention Act.