Illinois Hiring Process

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The hiring process involves receiving and reviewing applications, interviewing potential candidates, and selecting the employee.  Several federal and Illinois laws limit what employers can ask during the process.  

Applications, Interviewing, Reference Checks and Background Checks
The application process generally includes publishing the open position and accepting applications. Every help-wanted advertisement should contain an equal employment opportunity statement. Discrimination laws prohibit certain questions on the application, particularly those that elicit information about a personís protected status and are not job related.

The interviewing process generally involves interviews and reference checks. Federal and Illinois discrimination laws prohibit employers from asking certain questions during the hiring process. For example questions regarding a personís age, disability, child bearing decisions or plans, past criminal arrests or criminal history record information that has been ordered expunged, sealed or impounded, or other questions related to a personís protected status that are not directly related to the qualifications for the job are prohibited.  Every person who interviews candidates and conducts reference checks should have a working knowledge of the laws that govern employment interviews.

Employers who use outside organizations to conduct background checks must comply with the federal credit-reporting law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires certain disclosures and reports to be made available to the applicants.

Federal and Illinois disability laws impose certain affirmative obligations on employers to ensure that disabled persons have a fair opportunity to participate in the hiring process.  If any pre-employment testing is administered, then reasonable accommodations must be made to those applicants who require them.  Further, the use of testing or other criteria not related to the essential functions of the position being filled should not be used as they may tend to have a discriminatory impact on disabled applicants.

It is important for an employer to preserve flexibility and discretion under its policies to meet the changing needs of the organization.

In general, drug testing of job applicants is permissible in Illinois.

Use of third party providers regarding credit history, criminal records and other matters are governed and regulated by the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and care should be used when conducting such inquiries.

Note that criminal conviction record checks and other background checks are required under Illinois law for certain childcare and health care workers.  

All employers are required to verify that every new hire is either a U.S. citizen or authorized to work in the U.S. All employees must complete Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Forms and produce required documentation within three days of their hire date.  Failure to follow the I-9 process can result in penalties and an audit by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In Illinois, if employers use the federal Employment Eligibility Verification System, they must, among other things, notify all prospective employees at the time of application that the system may be used for immigration enforcement purposes.

Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their immigration status. Thus, once an employee proved that he or she is eligible to work in the U.S, the employeeís immigration status should not be used in any other employment decisions.

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