A new law in Indiana that took effect on July 1, 2013 allows state residents to have certain old criminal records “expunged” or erased by the courts Signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, this “second chance” law applies to both employers based in Indiana and those who hire workers in the state, and aims to create job opportunities for ex-offenders.
Under Indiana House Enrolled Act No. 1482, it “is (now) unlawful discrimination for any person to: suspend; expel; refuse to employ; refuse to admit; refuse to grant or renew a license, permit, or certificate necessary to engage in any activity, occupation, or profession; or otherwise discriminate against any person because of a conviction or arrest record expunged or sealed.”
For employers unable to see expunged criminal records who are sued for negligent hiring or negligent retention, the new law provides that “an order of expungement may be introduced as evidence of the person’s exercise of due care in hiring, retaining, licensing, certifying, admitting to a school or program, or otherwise transacting business or engaging in activity with the person to whom the order of expungement was issued.” However, expunged convictions are “not admissible as evidence in an action for negligent hiring, admission, or licensure against a person or entity who relied on the order.”
It’s a concerning move by Indiana, although the suggestion that employers may be slightly protected to negligent hiring lawsuits. Those supporting the law suggest the proper use of a pre-employment background check is not to automatically deny employment based upon a blemish in an applicants’ past. Rather, it is a tool for an employer to make an informed hiring decision and to ensure that potential new employees can demonstrate the strength of their character despite earlier indiscretions. Of course, some employers feel quite differently.
Contact us today if you have any questions or concerns as to how this legislation could affect your business.