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Indiana Legislature Bans “Ban the Box” Ordinances

Some cities and counties across the country have enacted local ordinances restricting the ability of employers to inquire into the criminal histories of applicants during various stages of the job application process. (These ordinances are commonly known as “ban the box” legislation.) However, the Indiana General Assembly recently passed a bill that prohibits local governments from adopting such ordinances in Indiana. Indiana Senate Bill 312 prohibits political subdivisions (including counties, municipalities, and townships) from enacting ordinances that interfere with an employer’s ability to obtain or use criminal history information during the hiring process to the extent allowed by state or federal law. 

The bill also provides that criminal history information regarding an employee or former employee may not be introduced as evidence against an employer in a civil action 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.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has said he will sign the bill, which takes effect on July 1, 2017.

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About this Author

Candace S. Walker, Ogletree Deakins, Corporation Counsel, Labor Employment Matters Lawyer
Of Counsel

Ms. Walker began her career as a lawyer as a law clerk to the Hon. V. Sue Shields, Indiana Court of Appeals. Before joining Ogletree Deakins in 2000, she was an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Indianapolis, advising city agencies on a wide variety of legal issues.  From 1995 to 2000 she was a Chief Counsel for the City of Indianapolis handling labor and employment matters for City of Indianapolis and Marion County agencies.