What’s in Chicago’s 2023 Amended Ban-the-Box Ordinance?

The City of Chicago recently made amendments to its existing 2015 Ban-the-Box Ordinance. It took effect at the end of April 2023 and expands coverage to almost all Chicago employers.

Many updates bring the ordinance in close alignment with the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The ordinance:

  • Now prohibits the use of arrest records (an arrest not leading to conviction; a juvenile record; or criminal history record information that has been expunged, sealed, or impounded).
  • Requires employers to conduct an individualized assessment when conviction records are being considered.
  • Prohibits an employer from taking an adverse action unless one of the following applies:
    • The applicable law requires the exclusion of the applicant or employee from the position based on the record;
    • A fidelity or bond is required and the conviction would disqualify them from the position;
    • There is a “substantial relationship” between one or more of the criminal offenses and the employment opportunity; or
    • Granting or continuing employment would involve unreasonable risk to the property. safety, or welfare of others or the general public.

  With regard to adverse action, the new ordinance implements stricter notification requirements including:

  • Pre-Adverse Action Notice
    • ​A description of the disqualifying conviction(s), along with the employer’s reasoning for the disqualification;
    • A copy of the conviction record; and
    • An explanation of the individual’s right to respond to the notice at least five (5) days prior to the decision becoming final, and that any such response may include, but is not limited to, evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction record or mitigating evidence, such as evidence of rehabilitation.


  • Final Decision Adverse Action Notice
    • A description of the disqualifying conviction(s), along with the employer’s reasoning for the disqualification;
    • Identify any internal recourse the individual may have to appeal the final decision with the employer; and
    • Include a statement that the individual has the right to file a complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

These new changes to Chicago law require employers to follow this process, whether or not a third-party screening service is used to obtain the information, including when the subject has self-disclosed criminal history information directly to the employer.

We encourage all employers engaged in employment activity in the City of Chicago to review these changes with their internal legal counsel and make appropriate changes necessary for compliance.

You can obtain a PDF copy of the updated ordinance directly from the Office of City Clerk Chicago here.


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