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New Illinois Laws Prohibit Employers From Obtaining Credit Information From Applicants And Employees

Published by on October 27, 2010

Under the Illinois Credit Privacy Act (“ICPA”), most Illinois employers will soon be prohibited from obtaining any credit history information for job applicants or current employees.   More after the break. The ICPA was recently signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and will become effective January 1, 2011.  In a press release from the […]

Under the Illinois Credit Privacy Act (“ICPA”), most Illinois employers will soon be prohibited from obtaining any credit history information for job applicants or current employees.   More after the break.

The ICPA was recently signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and will become effective January 1, 2011.  In a press release from the State of Illinois, Governor Quinn stated “A job seeker’s ability to earn a decent living should not depend on how well they are weathering the greatest economic recession since the 1930s.  This law will stop employers from denying a job or promotion based on information that is not an indicator of a person’s character or ability to do a job well.”

The ICPA applies to all Illinois employers, excluding only banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, state law enforcement units, state and local government agencies and debt collection agencies.  Under the law, covered employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant or employee’s credit history or obtaining a copy of their credit report.  Employers may, however, still inquire about an employee or applicant’s credit history for a position in which a credit history is a “bona fide occupational qualification.”  These limited circumstances include positions that involve: (1) bonding or security required under state or federal law; (2) unsupervised access to $2,500 in cash or equitable assets; (3) signatory power over business assets of more than $100; (4) management and control of the business; or (5) access to personal, financial or confidential information, trade secrets, or state or natural security information. 

The ICPA also prohibits retaliation or discrimination against any person who files a complaint, participates in an investigation or proceeding, or opposes a violation of the ICPA.  An employer may not require an applicant or employee to waive any right under the ICPA and any agreement to waive ICPA protections is invalid and unenforceable.  Any employer that violates the ICPA will be subject to civil liability for damages, including attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as injunctive relief.

For the full text of the ICPA, click here.

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