Legislative Update – Indiana Prohibition on Local “Ban the Box” Laws

Indiana is the first state in the U.S. to sign into law a state prohibition of local “Ban the Box” ordinances. The goal of this legislation is to remove the myriad of varying local “Ban the Box” ordinances and replace them with one state-level set of “Ban the Box” laws. This new Indiana law goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

The purpose of “Ban the Box” regulations is to delay an employer’s ability to inquire into the criminal history of job applicants until later in the hiring process, often after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. This is done to provide job applicants, who have criminal histories, an equal chance at employment opportunities. Historically, ex-offenders when applying for a job, have checked the criminal history box on employment applications and suffered the frustration of quickly being removed from consideration for employment because of their criminal past. “Ban the Box” laws set out to provide greater equality in consideration for employment positions of which the ex-offender would otherwise be equally qualified. The new State of Indiana law is aimed at preventing, and/or removing, the patchwork of local county and city based “Ban the Box” ordinances to clear the way for more centralization and single-state standards of “Ban the Box” laws.

This issue is not unique to the State of Indiana. According to the National Employment Law Practice (NELP), currently over 150 cities and counties, along with 26 states, have adopted some version of “Ban the Box” laws1. Imagine how employers and their legal counsels feel trying to sift through the myriad of local, county and state laws, along with federal executives orders, when attempting to hire across the United States. Employers who hire nationally, and the employment candidates themselves, would greatly benefit if more states would follow in the footsteps of Indiana. The State of Texas is another who is currently taking actions to centralize “Ban the Box” laws at the state level.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has also recently signed an executive order banning the box on all job applications for state level government positions2. This will likely lead the way toward similar state-level legislation impacting the public and private sector employers.

Validity recommends that all employers who conduct business within the State of Indiana review their hiring policies and forms related to “Ban the Box”. As always, it is advisable to have your legal counsel review your policies and forms to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

If you have further questions on “Ban the Box” matters, feel free to reach out to Validity Client Care at 866-256-0624.

*The content of this article/blog does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you require legal advice, please seek legal counsel.

1http://www.nelp.org/publication/”Ban the Box”-fair-chance-hiring-state-and-local-guide/