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.

Employee or Independent Contractor? New DOL Guidance Now on Hold

When are workers “employees” and not “independent contractors”? Three key points apply here. First, no bright-line rule necessarily exists; rather, facts and circumstances are always important. Second, the answer may depend on context – payroll tax, overtime and minimum wage laws, workers’ compensation coverage, etc. Third, careful evaluation may be warranted, depending on specific worker situations per these variables. This legal area just got a little more complicated, with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) January 2021 final rule now placed on hold by the new Biden Presidential Administration.