Can an Employer Ask Me About My Criminal Record in Illinois?















If you have a criminal record, you know that it can prevent you from getting the job you want, finding a decent place to live, or even taking out a loan – but are employers actually allowed to ask you about your record? Here’s what you need to know.

Can an Employer Ask Me About My Criminal Record in Illinois?

Employers are not legally allowed to ask you about:

  • Times you were arrested that never resulted in a criminal conviction
  • Anything related to your juvenile criminal record
  • Your sealed or expunged record

That means if you’re going to a job interview, the person interviewing you can’t say, “How many times have you been arrested?” or “Did you ever have a criminal record sealed or expunged?” If an employer does ask you those questions (or other, similar questions), you don’t have to answer. 

Related: Can you seal a theft conviction in Illinois?

When Can Employers Ask You Other Things About Your Criminal Record?  

Employers can ask you about other aspects of your criminal record, but generally, not until they schedule you for an interview or provide you with a conditional offer of employment. 

However, employers are legally allowed to ask you about your criminal record if you’re applying for a job that requires a fingerprint-based background check (such as some healthcare organizations, the military, schools and a handful of other employers), or if you’re going for a job that requires you to have an EMS license or a fidelity bond.

Related: Which Class 4 felonies can you seal in Illinois?

What if an Employer Asks You These Questions Anyway?

If an employer asks you questions about arrests that never led to a conviction, your juvenile record, or for information about a sealed or expunged record, you can contact the Illinois Department of Human Rights to file a complaint. (The same is true if an employer asks about other parts of your record, as well.) If the employer is in Chicago, you may also contact Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record?

If you need to speak with an attorney about clearing your criminal record so that prospective employers will never see it, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 now or fill out the form below for a free consultation.

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