More Illinois Equitable Employment Laws Taking Effect

July 28, 2023

Signed into law on March 23, 2021, Senate Bill 1480 significantly changed Illinois’s hiring regulations. This bill amended the Illinois Human Rights Act, Illinois Equal Pay Act, and the Illinois Business Corporation Act and has gradually taken effect since this date. 

Employers should take notice of the following changes made by the bill: Amended restrictions when considering criminal records in the hiring process and increased demographic reporting requirements. The bill also requires employers to certify their Illinois Equal Pay Act compliance.

Illinois Human Rights Act Amendments 

The amendment to the Human Rights Act bans some employers from using conviction records in hiring decisions. It applies to anyone employing one or more employees within Illinois for 20 or more calendar weeks within a given year. However, it also offers the following exceptions:

  1. If a “substantial relationship” exists between the criminal offense and the employment under consideration; or
  2. If the granting or continuation of employment would pose an unreasonable risk to property or the safety or welfare of the public or particular individuals

Employers must consider six mitigating factors when reviewing a “substantial relationship” or potentially unreasonable risk. These include the following:

  1. The length of time since the conviction;
  2. The number of convictions appearing on the 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.

After considering these factors, employers may disqualify an employee based on a conviction record. However, they must proceed with an interactive process resembling the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) regulations. The employer must provide the individual with the following:

  • A notice describing the specific conviction that disqualifies the individual from employment and the reason for the decision; 
  • A copy of the individual’s conviction history report; and
  • Information of the individual’s rights to respond within five days and dispute the decision; must explain their right to provide evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction record and/or evidence of additional mitigating factors.

The employer must consider any evidence an applicant or employee presents before making the final decision.

Reporting of Demographic Information

The Illinois Business Corporation Act amendments include a mandate for employers who submit EEO-1 reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In addition to these reports, they must file a similar demographic information report with the state. Like the information in Section D of the EEO-1, it must include comprehensive details about employees’ gender, ethnicity, and race. Employers must file this with the Illinois Secretary of State with the other reports annually.

Certification of Compliance With the Illinois Equal Pay Act

The amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act addressed private employers of 100 or more employers. These employers must obtain an equal pay registration certificate from the Illinois Department of Labor by March 23, 2024. Employers must provide proof of provided wages to each employee and their gender, ethnicity, and race to obtain this certificate.

Employers should take steps to review their policies to comply with these requirements. The best way to ensure compliance with employment screening requirements is to partner with an experienced background check provider. The right partner can provide accurate screening and advice on local, state, and federal compliance issues.

Background checks are made easy with JDP. Ask any questions you may have and learn more by contacting a sales rep today.