Anyone with misdemeanor or felony charges on their record used to have to fear that they would be automatically disqualified from a prospective job, but recent federal and state legislation helps provide an even playing field for all job applicants, regardless of what their criminal record looks like. Employers have a little leeway in determining whether any past convictions should bar you from the job you are applying for, but there is a much greater chance that anyone can make it much deeper into the hiring process before those discussions arise. If you ever need help determining if your criminal record can be sealed or expunged, or if you think a potential employer is violating any of the laws discussed below, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act
On January 1, 2015, the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” took effect. Prior to this, employers were allowed to inquire about applicants’ criminal records during the application process. This typically led employers to make a swift negative judgment of anyone with a felony or misdemeanor on their record, even if the applicant was more than qualified for the job in question.
The Job Opportunities Act forbids this. Instead, employers are only allowed to ask about an applicant’s criminal record if they have already been deemed qualified for the position. This rule is designed to help push employers to give former convicts a second chance. There are a few fields, like medicine, that still allow for employers to conduct a criminal background check on applicants since many types of misdemeanors might immediately suggest that the applicant is not up for the task.
If an employer deems that an applicant’s past conviction is a cause for concern and they do not want to hire them because of it, they are encouraged to notify applicants in writing of the specific offense that disqualified them from the job. Although this can be up to the employer’s discretion, the Qualified Applicants Act’s purpose is to push employers to only turn an applicant away if their record poses a serious, tangible risk in that profession.
Contact a Kane County Defense Lawyer
The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act was designed to help reintegrate those with prior felony or misdemeanor convictions reintegrate into society and receive a fair chance at attaining a job that they are capable of holding. To protect your rights and ensure that you are being given the opportunities that you deserve, work with the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. Our Aurora criminal defense attorney will strive to defend your case in court and help expunge or seal whatever possible from your record. To schedule a free consultation today, call 847-488-0889.