As reported in Ancel Glink’s Municipal Minute on December 28, 2017, changes to the Illinois Juvenile Court Act affect public employers in a number of ways. Effective January 1, 2018, the amendments to the Act expand the definition of juvenile records to include municipal ordinance violations, provide for automatic expungement of certain law enforcement records involving events that occurred before the affected individual’s 18th birthday, and provide, among other things, that “all juvenile records which have not been expunged are sealed and may never be disclosed to the general public or otherwise made widely available”.
For readers of the Workplace Report, a major concern is the effect of the amendments on employment applications. The law states:
Applications for employment within the State must contain specific language that states that the applicant is not obligated to disclose expunged juvenile records of adjudication or arrest. Employers may not ask, in any format or context, if an applicant has had a juvenile record expunged. Information about an expunged record obtained by a potential employer, even inadvertently [emphasis added], from an employment application that does not contain specific language that states that the applicant is not obligated to disclose expunged juvenile records of adjudication or arrest, shall be treated as dissemination of an expunged record by the employer.
The statute then goes on to provide that, depending on the circumstances, willful or intentional dissemination of an expunged record may result in criminal or civil liability, and possible termination of employment, for the person or entity responsible for dissemination.
In light of the amendments, every employer should review its employment application forms to be sure that the required statements are included on the forms. Your Ancel Glink attorney will be pleased to assist you in conducting these reviews. Please note in this regard that employers often have multiple application forms, including forms used by boards of fire and police commissioners. All such forms are subject to the requirements of the Juvenile Court Act.