Illinois Passes New Laws on Criminal History, Pay Reporting, and Whistleblowers

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Illinois Passes New Laws on Criminal History, Pay Reporting, and Whistleblowers

The Governor of Illinois has signed Senate Bill 1480 into law. This law establishes significant pay reporting requirements for businesses with more than 100 employees and greater protections for whistleblowers. However, most importantly, it significantly limits the use of criminal history in making employment decisions regarding job applicants and current employees.

The law amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to forbid employers from using conviction history against an employee or applicant unless any record of conviction shows a substantial relationship to the job or their employment that would pose an unreasonable risk of harm to property, individuals, or the general public.

Employers must also consider: 

  • The time since conviction
  • The number of convictions
  • The nature and seriousness of the conviction
  • The circumstances of the conviction
  • The age of the employee at its time
  • Rehabilitation efforts

If the employer chooses to take adverse action based on the conviction record, they would need to inform the individual of their preliminary decision, the conviction that caused it, the conviction history report if applicable, and the individual’s rights, including that to potentially alter the decision.

If employers still choose to take adverse action, they have five business days to respond.  They would need to inform the individual of the conviction that caused the decision along with their reasoning, procedures to challenge or request reconsideration, and their right to file charges with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.