In July of this year, Illinois became the fifth state with a law prohibiting employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until after an interview is scheduled (or, if no interview is required, after a conditional offer of employment is extended). Hawaii, Minnesotta, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and now Illinois have these laws, called “ban the box” laws. There are some exceptions to these “ban the box” laws. For instance, if a law prohibits a criminal from holding a job, employment licensed under the Emergency Medical Services System Act, and jobs requiring fidelity bonds. Some of these states’ laws also include exceptions for jobs which have essential functions which would be threatened by a particular criminal conviction. An example would be a convicted thief working at a cash register. Employers in the remaining forty-five states may generally consider an applicant’s criminal convictions when making hiring decisions.

For more information about employment law and employer's asking about criminal history, contact the Goosmann Law Firm at or call 712-226-4000.

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