In early June of 2017, Indiana became the first state to pass a law banning local ban-the-box laws. These laws had been enacted by various municipalities in the state to give persons with criminal records a better chance at transcending their past through gainful employment. However, some believe these laws put companies at risk.
The rest of the country is now watching to see how this change could impact other states that already have ban the box laws in place. Some states may be influenced to change their policies regarding background checks for pre-employment. Municipalities in Indiana are no longer allowed to create and enforce ban-the-box laws for Indiana Criminal Background Checks.
Employment Laws Always in Flux
These changes are a motive for hiring managers to work with pre-employment screening agencies to ensure they are assessing all applicants in compliance with the most current laws. These kinds of regulations are always in flux, and working with a professional agency allows companies to rest assured that they are handling employment screening in a way that is compliant with all state and local laws.
The new Indiana law, Senate Bill 312, outlaws the use of any current ban-the-box law that is on the books for any county or city in the state. The new legislation will effectively make it easier for businesses to conduct employment screening, especially when partnered with a professional agency experienced in these matters. Senate Bill 312 was recently signed into law by Indiana governor Eric Holcomb and will go into effect July 1.
New Ban-The-Box Law Makes Screening Easier For Indiana Employers
The city of Indianapolis banned ban-the-box laws in 2014. Ban-the-box laws in most areas of the U.S. require hiring managers to wait to ask about criminal history until a provisional job offer has been extended or at least until after an initial interview has been conducted. Employers in the state of Indiana can no longer inquire about job applicants’ criminal history as part of the hiring process.
The bill also states that criminal background check information regarding employees cannot be used as evidence in civil actions against employers based upon their conduct unless it has a direct relationship to the case, did not result in conviction, or if the conviction was sealed, reversed, vacated, expunged or pardoned.
The new legislation will no doubt assist employers that have statewide branches and offices throughout Indiana in having an easier time of standardizing their hiring practices across the state. The new law did not have any opposition in the state Senate.
Ban-The-Box Laws Finding a Balance
However, several watchdog groups oppose the passage of Indiana Senate Bill 312. Indiana branches of the ACLU and NAACP are calling for its veto. They say the bill is too friendly to employers and not in the interests of state citizens with criminal records who are trying to forge a new path through gainful employment.
This major change in the state underscores how employment laws are continually in flux. The best course of action for companies to stay current with all laws is by partnering with a professional employment screening agency. Employers can then rest assured that their screening policies are in compliance.
It remains to be seen how the rest of the nation will respond to Indiana banning ban-the-box laws. For now, local municipalities are still making this decision in most states.