Indiana places restrictions on how employers can use criminal background information when making employment decisions. In some cases, these laws vary between cities and counties. Here we break down the most restrictions employers should understand before ordering an Indiana background check.
Employers within Indiana are legally permitted to consider an applicant’s “limited criminal history,” which does include records of arrest. Such criminal histories typically encompass arrests and indictments for misdemeanors (Class A only) and all types of felonies. These records can only be considered if the arrest occurred or charges were brought under one year ago. Third-party criminal background checks such as this one cannot provide arrest records. Indiana allows employers to request limited criminal histories directly from law enforcement agencies instead.
If an Indiana State Police background check turns up records of arrests resulting in convictions, private employers in the state are legally allowed to consider that information. They may make inquiries to applicants regarding the information revealed in the background check. Applicants do not have to disclose any additional convictions that may be under seal, expunged, or legally restricted in some other way.
Ban the Box
Until 2017, several major Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, used ban the box laws to prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on job applications. The state government passed a law pre-empting all local ban the box regulations and barring local municipalities from implementing their own ban the box laws. At the same time, an executive order banned the box for state and public sector jobs. The order states criminal background checks cannot occur as an initial condition of employment, but instead can be a part of the process only after an initial interview.
Expunged & Sealed Criminal Records
Applicants have no responsibility to disclose expunged or sealed records to employers. Indiana businesses are prohibited from asking about sealed records on employment applications or considering them as part of an employment decision.
There are few other state-wide restrictions on background check information in Indiana. The state features no specific restrictions on whether employers may consider an applicant’s credit history, for example. However, federal protections such as those put in place by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act still come into play for Indiana employers.
Applicants must be informed if an employer intends to conduct a background check, and denials made since the report must be communicated to the applicant as well. With state pre-emption of ban the box laws, only the sealed records exception restricts private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history.