Practice Areas

Best Candidate for the Job

May 2014

By: Walter J. Liszka, Esq.

House Bill 5701, known as the "Best Candidate for the Job Act," has passed the Illinois House and is expected to win overwhelming approval in the Illinois Senate. This Bill would bar businesses with 15 or more employees from inquiring about or requiring applicants to disclose their criminal records (i.e., criminal convictions) before offering the individual a job interview or a conditional offer of employment. Once a job interview is offered or a conditional offer of employment is made, the Employer would allegedly be free to perform a background check. One should note that there is extensive activity being conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with regard to the issue of background checks and, regardless of the holdings in Bill 5701, the Employer could still run afoul of the law in getting background information.

It is interesting to note that the Illinois state legislature is taking such an active position in this arena. Is it possible that the vast number of convictions of Illinois politicians, both at the state and local level, are the underpinnings of this legislation? It is a well-known fact that there have been more former Governors of the state of Illinois indicted and convicted of criminal activity than any other state in the Union.

While the author is fairly sure that proponents of this legislation would state that it only allows an individual to "get their foot in the door" and does not guarantee employment, the "history of the state and the felonious activities of its politicians," at least in the mind of the author, raise questions about this legislation.

Questions? Contact Walter J. Liszka, Managing Shareholder of Wessels Sherman's Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at waliszka@wesselssherman.com .