One of the biggest misconceptions with serving papers is whether process servers have the right to serve in residential living facilities, gated communities and places of employment. Without proper knowledge of the rules that allow such service, obstruction of process of service can unknowingly occur. While rules vary in every state, Illinois ensures that everyone has their right to be served effectively and safely.


Employers can reserve the right to deny a process server from serving their employee. This act can be disruptive to the workplace environment and potentially embarrassing to the employee in question. But many employers have created a compromise with process servers and allow them to serve the papers in an area such as the parking lot, once the employee’s shift is over, or when they are on a break. There are also employers who do not allow service based on the nature of their work, such as food and machinery manufacturing. Areas such as these often require specific actions to be taken each time an employee enters and exits the area, causing further disruption and loss of work time.


When attempting service at a nursing home or assisted living facility, a process server cannot be denied service as the facility is the permanent residence of the resident. Many process servers will ask for or require a social worker or facility administrator to accompany them when effectuating the serve.


“No employee of a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act, the Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Act of 2013, the ID/DD Community Care Act, or the MC/DD Act shall obstruct an officer or other person making service in compliance with this Section.”

(735 ILCS 5/2-203)


One of the biggest issues aside from serving at a place of employment involves gaining access to a gated community. Similar to serving at work, state laws vary, and Illinois has made it a law in order to allow process servers to do their job.


An employee of a gated residential community shall grant entry into the community, including its common areas and common elements, to a process server authorized under Section 2-202 of this Code who is attempting to serve process on a defendant or witness who resides within or is known to be within the community. As used in this Section, “gated residential community” includes a condominium association, housing cooperative, or private community.” 

(735 ILCS 5/2-203)


As a process server, make sure you know your state laws for process serving at certain facilities, and have a copy of your rules on hand in case you encounter someone who may not know that they are required to allow you to serve papers. As a manager of a business, nursing home or assisted living facility, or gated community and private home association, make sure you know what rules are required to follow per state law.


By: Sarah Masa-Myers