Illinois House Bill 5701, the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act”, posits that private sector employers would be banned from asking about criminal history or doing a background check before evaluating an applicant’s skills and qualifications, joining four other U.S. states.
Also referred to as “Ban the Box” (the box to indication criminal convictions), this Bill aims to help humanize those people who are qualified but may have a criminal conviction on their record.
Proponents for this Bill argue that it helps even the playing field for the statistically higher amount of blacks and latinos that have criminal convictions. However, opponents state that it is a public safety risk and that the government is interfering with private businesses hiring practices.
The biggest question is, even if this Bill does pass, will the hiring policies of the private sector really change? Would it actually even the playing field, or would is it subterfuge for hiring practices to continue as normal, excluding those with criminal convictions for most jobs?
If the Senate approves the Bill and Governor Quinn signs it, the legislation would then take effect January 1, 2015.