Illinois Background Check

Illinois Background Check

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Are you a business owner or volunteer administrator in Illinois looking for solid workers within your organization? If so, you’re likely aware that finding good help can be challenging in today’s world, to say the least. The more sobering reality is that employing trustworthy staff members who live up to their claims on a resume or an application can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Now more than ever, background check services are a necessity rather than a luxury.  Getting an Illinois background check should be every administrator’s standard operating procedure, and this article explains the reasons why.

Why Consider PreSearch for Background Check Services in Illinois

In the words of the American author, James Altucher, “Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.”  Speaking to that point, there is no better way to avoid the possibility of an epic failure than acquiring accurate, state-compliant background screenings with PreSearch before presenting an offer of employment on the table.  

Let’s face the cold, hard facts here. Not everyone who enters your office door is always 100% honest.  Getting a background check in Illinois from PreSearch can suss out the trustworthy candidates from those who are clearly massaging the truth to get a position within your organization.  

Moreover, relying on our professional services to obtain a pre-hire Illinois background check gives you and your organization the assurance you need that all federal, state and county regulations are met. We do all the hard work for you so that your company is safeguarded from litigation. We also save you or your human resources team a significant amount of time. 

Don’t leave this crucial step in the hiring process to chance. Choose PreSearch so you and your team can select the best candidate to help your organization grow and thrive as it should.

What Is a Background Check?

In a nutshell, a background check is a process that allows individuals or companies to verify someone is who they assert themselves to be. Background checks are invaluable when it comes to confirming the identity of a prospective employee or volunteer. 

Furthermore, a pre-employment background check in Illinois is indispensable when hiring agencies need accurate information about an individual’s history such as criminal records, employment experience or verification of education.

How to Get a Criminal Background Check in Illinois?

There are several different ways you can get your criminal background check in Illinois. Criminal history records are accessed either by name or fingerprint. You can obtain your own Illinois criminal background check by going to any Illinois law enforcement office or correctional facility during business hours of operation and request a criminal history transcript through Illinois’ Access and Review process. 

You may also approach a licensed fingerprint agency to obtain an Illinois criminal history transcript, but the fingerprint agency may charge a processing fee. Lastly, you can send a written request by mail to the IL State Police, Division of Administration.

Please visit our service page for a full list of our offerings

Why Is It Important for Illinois Employers to Conduct Background Checks?

Aside from confirming and verifying the applicant in front of you is actually who they claim to be, a trusted employees background check can give you tremendous peace of mind and the assurances to hire with confidence.  Moreover, if your company is a regulated industry that legally requires an Illinois state background check, then clearly this is an important box to check before hiring an applicant.

To underscore the importance of background checks, let’s take a look at the healthcare industry in the great Prairie State.  According to the Illinois Health Care Worker Background Check Act, any healthcare employer must ensure that a potential healthcare employee has a fingerprint-based record check.  Additionally, a health care worker background check in Illinois is required by the state to determine if the applicant has no disqualifying convictions in order to work in a healthcare or caregiver position.  

The same mandates are required for the State of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). A candidate under consideration for employment in a childcare capacity is required to undergo a DCFS background check in Illinois if he or she will be working or living in a licensed childcare facility and might have unsupervised or unrestricted access to children.

While staying in legal compliance with the state of Illinois is certainly an important and motivating factor to get background checks on potential employees, let’s not forget the reassurance a full screening can mean for you and your organization.  

The harsh reality is that there is no foolproof guarantee that any applicant is irreproachable. An Illinois background check can nail down the solid facts you need to make the best decision possible for your organization, and that is the optimal reason pre-hire screenings are so vitally important for the success of your business.

What Is Unique About Background Checks in Illinois?

Every state in the nation has its own protocols for pre-hires, and Illinois is no exception. What makes background checks in Illinois unique is that the state requires different inquiries than other states in the US.  For example, IL passed a “ban-the-box” (BTB) law in 2014 that restricts an employer to access an applicant’s criminal background until the later stages of an interview and application process.  This is a newer law that applies to businesses and companies that have 15 or more employees.

Additionally, as of 2021, amendments were made to the Illinois Human Rights Act that enforce different ways Illinois employers approach certain steps in the pre-hire process.  One of these changes deals with discouraging employers taking adverse action in hiring applicants who have criminal marks on their background history check. Specifically, employers may not reject an applicant’s employment due to criminal activity unless they can fully and legally prove the conviction or offense is directly opposed to the position the applicant will hold. 

In the event an Illinois employer exposes a reasonable threat (referred to as “substantial relationship”) between a criminal conviction and the job position offered to an applicant, the employer is required to initiate an Adverse Action Procedure to the Illinois Department of Justice. The Adverse Action Procedure is similar to the state reporting required under the Federal Credit Report Act (FCRA), which we will address in a moment.

How Do Background Checks Work in Illinois?

As an employer in the state of Illinois, you must understand that everyone you interview for a job or volunteer position must be treated equally and fairly. This means that you cannot initiate background checks or refuse employment to an applicant based on characteristics such as religion, age, disability, and other traits. If a pre-hire suspects he or she has been discriminated against during the background check process, then they can file a claim to the IL Dept. of Human Rights, which could result in litigation and/or hefty fines against the employing organization.

Furthermore, Illinois employers are required to comply with the FCRA, which mandates that pre-hires must be notified if and when they are subject to a Illinois background check conducted by a third-party service prior to screening. If the applicant refuses to consent to a background check, then as the employer, you have the option to withdraw their application for employment. If the candidate accepts, the employer must get written consent from the pre-hire.

Illinois Background Check Laws

It’s important to understand Illinois background check laws in order to avoid litigation and costly fees in the event any of these laws are violated. Moreover, there are state, federal and county laws all hiring entities must be aware of in order to stay compliant. Here are some laws all Illinois hiring organizations should familiarize themselves with.

Also, please bear in mind that these tips about Illinois background check laws are for reference only. While PreSearch conducts screenings with the utmost care and compliance with state laws, this article is not intended to serve as legal advice.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

As mentioned earlier, FCRA law requires employers to notify pre-hires when a 3rd party service is used for an Illinois background check in the hiring process. The applicant must give written consent which states that he or she understands and accepts that he or she is subject to a background screening.  If this FCRA law is violated, legal action can be taken against the employer and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

FCRA has restrictions on how far back search results can be reported. Search results are limited to uncover activities such as debt collections, civil judgments or arrests not leading to convictions for seven years. Bankruptcies, however, have a 10 year lookback period. There are no FCRA time limits for employment positions that pay $75,000 or more per year.  

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

This is a federal law that is governed and enforced by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Title VII is a fundamental legislation that expressly prohibits discrimination when hiring applicants.  This means that a pre-hire cannot be turned down employment based on race, religion, age, disability and other characteristics not related to the job position. 

Title VII even has regulations and provisions for employers in the event criminal activity is uncovered during a 7 year criminal background check in Illinois. If an employer discovers a pre-hire has a criminal past in a pre-employment screening, the EEOC has issued recommendations such as assessing the criminal activity in relation to the specific job position.  The employer cannot decide against hiring a candidate with a criminal history unless the criminal offenses present a “substantial relationship” that negatively impacts the job position. 

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act asserts that an employer cannot conduct a background check on criminal history unless and until a conditional job offer is on the table and presented to the applicant. 

Moreover, a Illinois criminal background check cannot be performed if the prospective new hire has been determined as qualified for employment with an interview already scheduled.

Employers are subject to an investigation by the Illinois Department of Labor if a complaint is received regarding violations of the aforementioned laws. If found liable, employers in violation of these laws could be charged civil fees for each offense.

What Shows up on an Illinois Background Check?

That depends upon what kind of pre-hire screening you are wanting for your organization’s needs.  With PreSearch, you can choose from a diverse menu of different types of vital information.  From criminal records, past employment history, educational verifications, even credit checks – we can provide you with the accurate, reliable data you need for your applicants.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In Illinois?

When it comes to a criminal background check in Illinois, there is a standard 7 year lookback period when looking into criminal history. This means that there is no limit to how far back a background check in Illinois can go when identifying criminal convictions.  

Nevertheless, negative criminal activity uncovered cannot be used to disqualify a pre-hire. Instead, the criminal history must be in clear opposition to the job position.  For example, if the applicant has been convicted of embezzlement, then he or she may reasonably be disqualified for employment in a company’s financial offices.

There are time limits enforced by the FCRA.  The FCRA permits employers to go back as far as seven years when conducting background checks. Any history prior to seven years is not permissible to use when determining if a pre-hire should be employed. The exception to this, as mentioned earlier, is a lookback period of 10 years for bankruptcy checks, and there are no time restrictions if the position pays $75,000 or more per year.

What Can Disqualify Someone From a Background Check in Illinois?

While every state in the US is different about abiding by hiring laws for new employees, the state of Illinois has very specific requirements. For instance, non-licensed caregivers and healthcare workers who directly tend to patients are required to take an Illinois background check for criminal convictions. The same holds true for potential employees who work directly with students.

As an employer in Illinois, you are permitted to enact a hiring policy that cites criminal offenses as a disqualification for employment (if such criminal activity is found on a background check). As the hiring entity, you are responsible for presenting this hiring policy in writing to an applicant. In the event criminal activity is discovered in the pre-hire screening process, you cannot discriminate or withhold employment to the applicant based on the crimes in the background report.  However, if you can clearly prove that the illegal charges are in direct conflict with the employment position offered, then this can constitute a disqualification for a job based on the background check results.

How Long Does a Background Check Take in Illinois?

The answer to this question depends upon your approach to getting an Illinois background check.  To explain, if you decide to do the work yourself, or delegate it to a staff member, the turnaround for results could take days or even weeks.  The reason for this is because it takes a significant amount of time to obtain all the information needed.  

Additionally, it takes time to ensure your organization is ticking all the boxes in terms of federal, state and local laws pertaining to new-hire screenings.  Lastly, if you opt for a do-it-yourself approach, you likely might not have the resources or built-in contacts with local, state and federal governments.  

At PreSearch, we are experienced and well versed in how to conduct a compliant, accurate and thorough background check in Illinois.  Therefore, if you want a meticulous and fast background check, your best option is to partner with our qualified, professional service providers to get the results you need expediently and precisely.

How Much Do Background Checks Cost in Illinois?

*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.

Please reach out if you would like a quote for background screening services.

Perhaps a better question might be, “How much could your company stand to lose if a background check in Illinois state isn’t done, or done incorrectly?”  The answer is, your organization could potentially be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars if state and federal laws are violated during the pre-hire process.

And if you’re thinking about contracting those “free” background check services, think again. The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here because many online vendors do not conduct pre-employment checks in Illinois by the letter of the law. Furthermore, in most cases the results are inaccurate, outdated or even incomplete.

Additionally, if you opt to have your human resources department run background checks, you’re looking at a lot of time invested in HR salaries, which can add up. It takes attention to detail, time and reliable resources to accurately produce a background check in Illinois that is thorough and in compliance. When you add up all the costs and time involved with conducting a pre-hire screening, it’s easy to see that PreSearch provides the best value for the price for all your background check needs.

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