Illinois Governor Signs Employee Credit Privacy Act (HB 4658) Into Law
Illinois State Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Employee Credit Privacy Act (HB4658) into law. Illinois is now the fourth state to restrict employers from using credit information for employment decisions; Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington have similar legislation in place.
Effective January 1, 2011, Illinois employers and agents of employers may not “discriminate against an individual with respect to employment, compensation, or a term, condition, or privilege of employment because of the individual’s credit history or credit report” or “order or obtain an applicant’s or employee’s credit report from a consumer reporting agency.”
The law applies to all Illinois-based employers of any size with the following exceptions:
Employers must apply the law to all employees, unless a satisfactory credit history is an established “bona fide” occupational requirement of a particular employee position or group/department. A satisfactory credit history is not a bona fide occupational requirement unless at least one of the following circumstances is present:
Employers may not require an applicant or employee to waive any right under the Employee Credit Privacy Act, or retaliate or discriminate against a person for exercising rights under the Act. Employers who violate the Act may be sued and ordered to pay damages including attorneys’ fees.
Employers subject to these new provisions should consult with the Illinois Department of Labor and/or their legal counsel immediately, and update and revise their current HR policies accordingly.
All information contained herein is provided by Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI), PO Box 629, Owings Mills, MD 21117, and is solely for the convenience of its readers. EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided within should be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal responsibilities or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.
EBI’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Mr. Robert E. Capwell, is considered one of the leading experts in the background screening industry with over 22 years of experience in the field. Mr. Capwell was a contributing author of the second edition of the ASIS Pre-employment Background Screening Guidelines and has written numerous articles and whitepapers for various publications including a periodic column on background screening for The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Online. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Human Resource Executive Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and several HR-related publications. Mr. Capwell speaks regularly to industry colleagues and HR Professionals both nationally and internationally.