Illinois Human Rights Act Amended by Senate Bill 1480

Posted: April 05, 2021

Changes to Illinois Adverse Action

On 03/23/2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Illinois Senate Bill 1480, “the Employee Background Fairness Act”, into law, effective immediately. This bill amends the Illinois Human Rights Act and places many additional requirements on Employers within the state in regard to taking adverse action on job applicants and employees based on their conviction records.

Employers may not maintain a policy that bars employees/applicants with conviction records, unless a law is in place that prohibits that employer from employing an individual with that specific conviction. If this is the case, the Employer must send notice to the applicant/employee regarding their disqualification pursuant to the applicable law.

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

Employers must provide specific disclosures in both the pre-adverse and final-adverse stages in addition to the notices required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Pre-Adverse notification must include:

  1. A notification to the employee of the decision and the reasoning, including the conviction(s) that the employer based its decision on,
  2. A copy of the applicant’s conviction history report and
  3. An explanation of the applicant’s rights to respond to the preliminary denial of employment. The explanation must inform the employee that the response may include, but is not limited to, submission of evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction record that is the basis for the disqualification or evidence in mitigation, such as rehabilitation.

Final-Adverse notification must include:

  1. The disqualifying conviction or convictions that are the basis for the final decision and the employer’s reasoning for the disqualification;
  2. Any existing procedure the employer has for the employee to challenge the decision or request reconsideration; and
  3. The right to file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

For a full list of current ban-the-box and adverse action laws and ordinances that impact private employers, please download our whitepaper  – A Summary of BAN THE BOX LAWS, ORDINANCES AND IMPACT

The preceding is offered as general educational information and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Consultation with qualified legal counsel is recommended for all employment law matters.

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