Effective September 1, 2019

Illinois Updated The Equal Pay Act of 2003

Illinois passed House Bill 834 (HB834), which amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003. It prohibits employers from:

  • Requiring applicants to disclose their salary history.
  • Inquiring about an applicant’s salary from other sources (such as a former employer).
  • Screening applicants based on their salary history.
  • Requiring a candidate's salary satisfy a minimum or maximum criteria.

HB834 adds that employers may not “discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to an employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee of the opposite sex for the same or substantially similar work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.”

There are exceptions. Employers may adjust compensation based on:

  • A merit system.
  • A system that measures “earnings by quantity or quality of production.”
  • A seniority system.
  • Job-related differentials based on other factors that would not constitute unlawful discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act

HB 834 also creates penalties for violations. They include:

  • An employee who earned less than others that do comparable work may be able to recover the amount they were underpaid.
  • Employers may be liable for additional compensatory damages if they are found to have acted with malice or reckless indifference.
  • Reasonable costs and attorney fees may also be passed on to an employer for confirmed violations.

Ban The Box

The Illinois Ban the Box law applies to state employers with fifteen or more employees. Employers may inquire about criminal records after an interview or a conditional offer is extended. Job applications may not include questions about arrests or convictions.

Exemptions exist for positions in which federal or state law requires employers to exclude applicants who have any type of criminal record or the position requires the applicant to obtain a bond and having a criminal record would prevent the person from obtaining that bond.

If an applicant is found to have a criminal record, the state employer shall run an individualized assessment on the person in which they consider:

  • The nature and gravity of any offense.
  • How much time has passed.
  • The nature of the position.

Criminal Records Obtained From State Police

If a background check produced by a consumer reporting agency includes a criminal conviction record from the Illinois Department of State Police, then the agency must send the applicant a copy of that record. If anything is incorrect about the criminal record, then the applicant has seven days to file a dispute.

Consideration Of Arrest Records

Employers may not consider criminal convictions that were sealed, expunged or impounded.

Employee Credit Privacy Act

Employers may not use credit reports when making hiring decisions unless there is a bona fide occupational requirement such as:

  • State or federal law requires the person in the position to be bonded.
  • The employee would have unsupervised access to cash or materials worth $2,500 or more.
  • The position provides signatory power over business assets of $100 or more per transaction.
  • A managerial position that has control over the direction of the business.
  • The position provides access to confidential, financial or related data.
  • Another occupational requirement exists.
Backgrounds Online provides details about State Laws for informational purposes only. We do not provide legal services. Nothing on these pages or our site should be considered as legal advice or opinion.