City of Chicago Amends Criminal Records Ordinance

(Last Updated On: May 23, 2023)

Special Announcement to all City of Chicago employers:

The City of Chicago has amended Section 6-10-054 of the Municipal Code of Chicago that regulates employers use of criminal records in the hiring process. These amendments bring the Chicago ordinance in line with state law. These changes include:

A. Limit employers from using non-conviction information.
B. Allowing use of criminal convictions only if:

1) applicable law excludes applicants with certain criminal convictions from the relevant position;
2) a standard fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the relevant position, and an applicant’s conviction of one or more specified criminal offenses would disqualify the applicant from obtaining such a bond, in which case an employer may include a question or otherwise inquire whether the applicant has ever been convicted of any of those offenses; or
(3) there is a substantial relationship between one or more of the criminal offenses in the person’s conviction record and the employment sought or held; or
(4) the granting or continuation of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

For the purposes of this ordinance, “substantial relationship” means a consideration of
whether the employment position offers the opportunity for the same or a similar offense to occur and whether the circumstances leading to the conduct for which the person was convicted will recur in the employment position.

Factors considered in making a determination of substantial relationship include:

(1) the length of time since the conviction;
(2) the number of convictions that appear on the conviction record;
(3) the nature and severity of the conviction and its relationship to the safety
and security of others;
(4) the facts or circumstances surrounding the conviction;
(5) the age of the employee at the time of the conviction; and
(6) evidence of rehabilitation efforts. there is a substantial relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the employment sought or held;

C. Interactive assessment required for disqualifying conviction. If, after considering the mitigating factors, the employer makes a preliminary decision that the employee’s conviction record disqualifies the employee, the employer shall notify the employee of this preliminary decision in writing.

1) Notification. The notification shall contain all of the following:

a. notice of the disqualifying conviction or convictions that are the basis for the preliminary decision and the employer’s reasoning for the disqualification;
b. a copy of the conviction history report, if any; and
c. an explanation of the employee’s right to respond to the notice of the employer’s preliminary decision before that decision becomes final. The explanation shall inform the employee that the response may include, but is not limited to, submission of evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction record that is the basis for the disqualification, or evidence in mitigation, such as rehabilitation.

2) Employee response. The employee shall have at least 5 business days to respond to the notification provided to the employee before the employer may make a final decision.

3) Final decision. The employer shall consider information submitted by the employee before making a final decision. If an employer makes a final decision to disqualify or take an adverse action solely or in part because of the employee’s conviction record, the employer shall notify the employee in writing of the following:

a. notice of the disqualifying conviction or convictions that are the basis for the final decision and the employer’s reasoning for the disqualification;
b. any existing procedure the employer has for the employee to challenge the decision or request reconsideration; and
c. the right to file a charge with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations..

The full text of this ordinance is available here: Section 6-10-054


This law will require a review of the hiring process in place and may require changes to that process. Justifacts recommends that you consult with your legal department to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your hiring process in order to comply with this law.

It is important to note that Justifacts is providing this information as a service to our clients. None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor is Justifacts engaged to provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult your attorney or legal department if you want assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.