Indiana Is First to Bar Local ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinances
On April 27, 2017, Governor Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 312 (now PL 210-2017) into Indiana law, which will become effective July 1, 2017. This legislation aims to assist employers who hire within Indiana to have more consistency in the hiring process. Currently, employers must adapt to city, county, municipal and township ordinances that vary in timing as to when or if conviction related questions can be asked to applicants in the hiring process. This legislation ultimately prevents local governments from passing differing versions of Ban the Box legislation throughout the state. As usual, employers must continue to adhere to state and federal employment laws in their hiring processes.
Employers who hire in Indiana still need to include expungement language when asking about convictions within an employment application to adhere to existing HEA 1482 legislation. As discussed in this SHRM article, unlike local Ban the Box laws, a state legislature can provide employer immunity or protection if the employer hires an ex-offender and the person commits another crime. According to The National Law Review, SB 312 states that criminal history information regarding an employee or former employee may not be introduced as evidence against an employer in a civil lawsuit based on the conduct of the employee or former employee if the criminal history information does not bear a direct relationship to the facts underlying the civil action, or if the conviction has been sealed, expunged, reversed, vacated, or pardoned, or if the criminal history information relates to an arrest or charge that did not result in a conviction. With this in mind, the expungement language on the employment application potentially provides an additional layer of defense for claims against an employer.
State employment hiring practices in Indiana, however, will be changing. Governor Holcomb issued an executive order for state employment that would ban the box regarding convictions until the applicant proceeded to the interview phase of the hiring process. This too, becomes effective July 1, 2017.
ExactHire does not provide legal counsel so if you have questions as to how SB 312 affects your hiring practices in Indiana, please consult your company’s legal team. If you have any questions or changes regarding your HireCentric ATS employment application, please contact the Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.