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More Felony Convictions Can Be Sealed from Criminal Background Checks and Disclosures on Employment Applications

December 2013

By: Anthony J. Caruso, Esq.

Because of a recent change in Illinois law, employers are now increasingly limited in their use of criminal history in assessing their job applicants and employees. Now, the employer must rely more heavily on the interview along with the applicant's skills, qualifications and experience.

In August, 2013, Governor Quinn signed into law legislation to further assist job applicants with criminal records to secure employment.

Under existing law (Illinois Criminal Identification Act), Illinois employers are required to post on their employment applications the disclaimer that "the applicant is not required to disclose any sealed or expunged record of conviction" in response to any questions of criminal history on the employment application.

The biggest change in the new legislation for the law dealing with criminal record or conviction clearing process is a further expansion of the felony convictions eligible for sealing. Previously, the only felony convictions eligible for sealing were Class 4 felony drug possession or prostitution unless special authorization was granted by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Under this new law, sealing eligibility will also include Class 3 and Class 4 felony convictions for theft, retail theft, forgery, possession of burglary tools, and deceptive practices. Generally, crimes of violence with regard to felony criminal convictions cannot be sealed or expunged.

If you have any questions or concerns about this topic or any other questions related to employment, please call attorney Anthony J. Caruso of Wessels Sherman's St. Charles, Illinois office at 630-377-1554 or via e-mail at ancaruso@wesselssherman.com.