Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyerHaving a criminal conviction can impair your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, and receive funding for school. One study found that only 12.5 percent of employers would accept an application from someone with a criminal record. However, an Illinois law restricts when an employer may ask an applicant if they have a criminal record. Being convicted of a crime makes finding a job difficult, but not impossible, and the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act seeks to assist those convicted find employment.

Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act

As of January 1, 2015, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (“the Act”) is in effect. The Act seeks to help qualified applicants get job interviews by restricting employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record until the applicant receives an interview. Below are some key provisions of the Act.

What is the purpose of the Act?

The purpose of the Act is to give Illinois employers access to a broad pool of qualified applicants by ensuring that applicants are not preemptively denied an interview based solely on their criminal record.

What are the restrictions on employers?

Per the Act, employers cannot inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until the applicant has been notified that the employer selected the applicant for an interview. For employers who do not conduct interviews, an applicant’s criminal record cannot be inquired into until after an employer has offered the applicant a conditional offer of employment.

Are there any restrictions included within the Act?

Yes. The act has some restrictions. The Act does not apply to employers who must exclude applicants with criminal records due to federal and state laws. Further, the Act details that when certain insurance protections are required to work a particular job, and an applicant’s criminal record will prevent them from obtaining such insurance coverage, the employer can include questions about whether the applicant has certain criminal convictions. There is an exception for individuals who employ people under the Emergency Medical Services Act.

What happens if the Act is violated?

If an employer violates the Act, the Illinois Department of Labor will investigate alleged violations. Employers who violate the Act may be subject to various monetary fines. However, the Act does not give individuals the right to sue under the Act.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Though the Act seeks to help qualified applicants with certain criminal records find employment, it may still be difficult to find employment with a criminal record. If you are facing criminal charges, the best thing to do is to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney. The experienced Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC have experience handling various types of criminal cases. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at 630.232.1780. We look forward to helping you.

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