Legal Alert Job Applicants and Felony Conviction Inquiries

Authored By THEODORE T. STORER

THE CHANGE

Effective July 1, 2013, Indiana law prohibits an employer from asking an employee to disclose any criminal convictions that have been expunged by a criminal court.

Employers can still conduct criminal background checks.  Employers should only ask applicants about convictions that have not been expunged.

The statute suggests that employers ask: “Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime that has not been expunged by a court?”

ACTION ITEMS

  • Employers should update their human resources personnel on the change in the law as well as any supervisors or management involved in the application process.
  • Employers should update their job application forms to limit the disclosure to convictions (or arrests, if appropriate) that have not been expunged.
  • Governor Pence has said the intent is to allow Hoosiers who have served their sentence to start fresh and increase their odds in finding employment. “Indiana should be the worst place in America to commit a serious crime and the best place, once you’ve done your time, to get a second chance,” Pence said in a statement.

HOW DOES A CRIMINAL LAW APPLY TO EMPLOYERS?

The new statute which takes effect on July 1, 2013 allows an individual with certain criminal convictions to expunge his or her criminal record, or even the record of an arrest.  It is unlawful discrimination for any person (employer) 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 under this chapter.
    I.C. 35-38-9-10(a).

The full law, including a description of the convictions eligible to be expunged and the process to do so, may be found at:

//www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2013/HB/HB1482.2.html

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