Chicago amends its ban-the-box ordinance

On April 24, 2023, the Chicago City Council voted to amend the city’s ban-the-box ordinance, which restricts when and how private employers may ask about a job applicant’s criminal history. The amendments expand the ordinance’s coverage and impose new compliance obligations on Chicago employers. Many employers that were exempt under the old rules no longer are, and penalties have significantly increased.

What is Chicago’s Ban-the-Box Law?

Chicago enacted its original ban-the-box ordinance in 2014. It prohibited employers from asking applicants about their criminal record until after making a conditional job offer. After that point, employers could only withdraw the offer based on the applicant’s criminal history if they performed an individualized assessment showing the conviction history disqualified the applicant from the position.

The original law only applied to private employers who are located in or do business in Chicago and have 15 or more employees. It did not apply to certain positions, like jobs requiring a government-issued security clearance. Violations carried fines of $500 to $1,000 per offense.

Chicago’s ban-the-box ordinance aimed to improve employment opportunities for individuals with conviction histories. Nationwide, over 70 […]