Indiana to Prohibit Local Ban the Box Laws that Prevent Employers from Using Criminal History Information

ban the box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Indiana General Assembly has passed legislation – Senate Bill 312 (SB 312) – to prohibit “political subdivisions” in the state such as counties, municipalities, and townships from passing “Ban the Box” laws that prevent employers from obtaining or using the criminal history information of job applicants during the hiring process to the extent allowed by federal or state laws and regulations. SB 312 takes effect July 1, 2017.

Indiana SB 312 also provides that a political subdivision may not prohibit employers from making an inquiry regarding the criminal history information of job applicants during an initial application for employment. The Ban the Box law also provides that criminal history information concerning employees or former employees may not be introduced against employers in a civil action based on the conduct of employees or the former employees if:

  • The criminal history information does not bear a direct relationship to the facts underlying the civil action;
  • The records of the criminal case have been sealed;
  • The criminal conviction has been reversed, vacated, or expunged;
  • The employee or former employer has received a pardon for the criminal conviction; or
  • The arrest or charge did not result in a criminal conviction.

In the article entitled “Indiana First State to Bar Local Ban the Box Laws” posted on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website,  Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of global background check provider Employment Screening Resources (ESR) and author of “The Safe Hiring Manual,” explained that there are very strong arguments for statewide Ban the Box laws instead of a patchwork of local ordinances.

“If every city, county or district passes its own laws, it becomes very Balkanized and hard to do business,” said Rosen, a frequent speaker on issues surrounding background checks, safe hiring, and due diligence. “By having a clear statewide law, all employers know the rules and employers in fact have an incentive to hire an ex-offender because of the statutory immunity or protections a state can give an employer.”

Rosen explained that only a state legislature can provide immunity or protection if an  employer hires an ex-offender who commits another crime while local Ban the Box laws cannot do that. The complete article “Indiana First State to Bar Local Ban the Box Laws” by SHRM Online Manager/Editor Ray Maurer is at www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/indiana-first-state-bar-local-ban-box-laws.aspx.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that he “will issue an executive order barring the state’s executive office from including on job applications questions concerning an applicant’s criminal background.” The Ban the Box order would affect more than 1.12 million people in the state of Indiana with some form of a criminal record, according to U.S. Justice Department data.

The Ban the Box movement, named after the box on job applications that applicants are asked to check if they have criminal records, is growing fast. Currently, 26 states and over 150 cities and counties have Ban the Box laws to remove barriers to employment for qualified workers with criminal records so they may be first judged on their knowledge, skills, and abilities, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

More Ban the Box Information from ESR

Founded by background check expert Attorney Lester Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a strategic choice for employers who need accuracy and compliance in their screening programs – offers a Ban the Box Information Page with news and legal updates about Ban the Box states, cities and counties, and resources. For more information about ESR, please call toll free 888.999.4474 or visit www.esrcheck.com.

 

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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