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Conducting Criminal Record Checks in Illinois

Filed under Office & HR.

Employers in Illinois are permitted or required to conduct criminal record checks in accordance with these rules.

In Illinois, it is a civil rights violation for an Illinois employer to inquire about or to use arrest information or criminal history record information that has been ordered expunged, sealed or impounded as a basis for refusing to hire or for segregating employees or as a basis for decisions regarding recruitment, hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment.

The Health Care Worker Background Check Act applies to all individuals employed or retained by a health care employer as:

  • home health care aides
  • nurse aides
  • personal care assistants
  • private duty nurse aides
  • day training personnel
  • any similar health-related occupation where he or she provides direct care

The Health Care Worker Background Check Act prohibits the hiring of a person in a position involving direct care of clients, patients or residents if the person has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit one or more specified offenses in the:

  • Criminal Code
  • Credit Card and Debit Card Act
  • Wrongs to Children Act
  • Nursing and Advanced Practice Nursing Act
  • Criminal Jurisprudence Act
  • Cannabis Control Act
  • Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
  • Illinois Controlled Substances Act

Similar rules apply to long-term care facilities regarding individuals in a position with duties that may involve contact with residents or access to the living quarters or the financial, medical, or personal records of residents, who has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit one or more of certain specified offenses.

A health care employer who makes a conditional offer of employment to an applicant must initiate a fingerprint based criminal history record check, requested by the Department of Public Health, if such a background check has not already been conducted.

Health care facilities are required to initiate background checks for employees that have contact with residents, not limited only to direct care staff members.

Employees and volunteers of a comprehensive hospice program or volunteer hospice program are required to undergo a criminal background check as a condition of employment.

A health care employer must retain criminal history record requests for all employees for a period of five years. The health care employer is also required to retain the results of the records check for the duration of a person's employment. The files are subject to inspection by the agency responsible for inspecting, licensing, or certifying the health care employer.

Applicants for jobs in facilities run by the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities must submit to criminal background checks, based on their fingerprints. Applicants may be hired conditionally, pending the results of the background check, but must be notified that employment is dependent on the results of the check. Applicants who decline to submit to testing may be rejected.

Persons applying for medical licenses must undergo criminal history background checks.

Private organizations may utilize conviction information obtained from the Department of State Police in evaluating the qualifications and character of an employee or prospective employee.

Private elementary or secondary schools cannot obtain private school recognition status unless the school requires all applicants for employment to authorize a fingerprint-based criminal history records check as a condition of employment to determine if the applicants have been convicted of specified criminal or drug offenses.

In Illinois, fingerprinting is required for charter bus drivers.

Application for permanent employee registration cards requires fingerprints from all private alarm contractor, detective agency and security agency employees.

Effective January 1, 2010, employers are prohibited from using any Electronic Employment Verification System prior to hiring or as a screening tool prior to hiring and completion of a Form I-9.

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