by Meganne Trela (December 2017)

The Illinois General Assembly recently amended the Juvenile Court Act to include a provision affecting every employer in Illinois.

According to the recent amendments in P.A. 100-0285, employers within the State must include specific language in their applications stating that an applicant is not obligated to disclose expunged juvenile records of adjudication or arrest. In addition, employers may not ask whether an applicant has had a juvenile record expunged, and an expunged juvenile record may not be considered by any public or private entity in employment matters (705 ILCS 405/1-8 (A)). The new law is effective January 1, 2018.

Section 1-8 (A) of the Act now provides, in part:

A juvenile adjudication shall never be considered a conviction nor shall an adjudicated individual be considered a criminal. (705 ILCS 405/1-8(A))

If an employer fails to include the required language on its application and the employer obtains information about an expunged record, the employer is deemed to have “disseminated” an expunged record — even if the information was obtained inadvertently. Penalties for disseminating information contained in an expunged record include fines of up to $1,000 per violation. In addition, a person whose record was expunged has a right of action against anyone who intentionally disseminates that record (705 ILCS 405/5-915(7.5)(a)).

Based on the recent amendments, both public and private employers should review and revise their employment applications to include language indicating applicants are not required to disclose expunged juvenile records. If you would like assistance revising applications for employment, please contact an attorney at Ottosen Britz.