Of Safety and Second Chances: Applying Illinois' Amended "Ban-the-Box" Law to Child Safety Screening

Is the Illinois’ Employee Background Fairness Act a game-changer for nonprofits’ child safety screening? This new law, passed earlier in 2021, makes it a civil rights violation for employers to reject applicants or otherwise take adverse action against employees based on their criminal convictions. But thankfully, and sensibly, nonprofits that provide children’s programs, such as schools, sports activities, and childcare services, are fully able to consider individuals’ criminal records in assessing their suitability for working with children. Organizational leaders should now do so more thoughtfully with respect to their employees, and with continued complete discretion for their volunteer workers.

Nonprofit Finance: Optimal Success Through Sound Financial Management

Nonprofits and finances – in practice, these two words should fit together well for organizational flourishing, reflecting capable stewardship and stability. But all too often, financial aspects of nonprofit operations can prove intimidating, overlooked, or otherwise mismanaged. CPA Michael Batts of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee has recently published a stand-out resource, entitled Nonprofit Finance: The Field Guide for Financial Operations of Ministries, Schools, and Other Public Charities. This easy-to-digest book is chock full of worthwhile pointers, helpful instructions, and advice well worth following closely, all to help nonprofit leaders achieve optimal success and integrity in financial administration.

No Legal Bar to Religious Re-Openings in Illinois

As religious leaders continue to grapple with appropriate COVID-related safety measures for their congregants, a federal appellate court recently clarified that no legal barrier exists under Illinois law for religious gatherings. In Cassells and the Beloved Church vs. Snyder, issued on March 8, 2021, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that religious organizations may legally gather as they wish – consistent with their First Amendment religious freedom and assembly rights, and otherwise in accordance with appropriate health and safety considerations – since the prior Executive Order prohibiting religious gatherings of more than ten people is no longer in effect. This significant court ruling dovetails with Illinois’ accelerating re-opening efforts, lightened capacity restrictions, and enormous push toward widespread vaccinations.