Here’s a short compliance update highlighting key information about the laws Illinois and New Jersey enacted over the last few months. . As always, keep up to date with any compliance changes by using Blueline Services for your background checks and drug testing needs.
Illinois Law – March 2021 Compliance Update
Conviction Records and Equal Pay Compliance
Illinois enacted legislation that amended the Illinois Human Rights Act. The changes made prohibit employers, agencies, and labor organizations from taking adverse action on an individual due to conviction records unless:
- A substantial relationship exists between the criminal offense and the employment opportunity
- Hiring or continuing their employment puts property, other employees, or the public at unreasonable risk
The conviction records include felonies, misdemeanors, probation, imprisonment, parole, law enforcement fines, and more:
- Mitigating factors must be considered before an employer uses a conviction record in its decision-making.
- Interactive assessment and notice requirements for employers’ preliminary decisions.
- Employees’ right to respond before their employer’s final employment decision; and
- Employer’s final decision procedure.
The compliance update will mean more scrutiny placed on background checks. Be sure to use Blueline Services to stay in compliance.
New Jersey Law – February 2021
Adult-Use Cannabis Reform
Adult-use cannabis reform has a couple of clauses to it. First, it legalizes cannabis use for adults 21 and older. It then sets provisions protecting against discrimination in employment opportunities due to cannabinoids being detected in a drug test.
How the workplace will be affected:
AB 21 prohibits employers from refusing to hire, employ, discharge, or taking any other adverse action against any person because they do or do not use cannabis. Additionally, employees cannot be subject to adverse employment action solely because cannabinoid metabolites were present in their workplace drug tests. However, the law does not allow cannabis or marijuana use or possession in the workplace or prohibit workplace drug testing. An employer may require an employee to undergo a drug test if it is reasonably suspected that an employee is using cannabis when working, if they display any observable signs of cannabis intoxication, or after a work-related accident. Employers may also drug test randomly, as part of pre-employment screening, or regularly screen current employees to determine drug use during the employee’s working hours. Workplace drug tests must have both a scientific process (blood, urine, or saliva testing) and a physical evaluation to determine if the employee is impaired.
AB 1897 protects against employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from making decisions solely based on an employee’s and applicant’s arrest, charge, conviction (juvenile included) related to marijuana or hashish (charge). Additionally, employers cannot require an applicant to disclose or reveal any such charge.
AB 21 is effective immediately but is not operative until rules and regulations are released by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Employers are encouraged to begin compliance with AB 1897 immediately, as well. Read more on cannabis and marijuana reform from the governor.