Indiana ensures employers can ask about criminal history
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Indiana lawmakers have ensured that employers in the state can ask job applicants about their criminal histories when they fill out applications.
A law that went into effect Saturday prohibits the state and municipalities from enacting laws and ordinances that restrict employers from asking job applicants about their criminal histories, the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/2t91QVd ) reported.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg removed criminal history questions from city government job applications in 2015 but has been reluctant to dictate hiring practices of private sector employees.
“If we want people to be able to put their lives back together, to be at work instead of going back into the criminal justice system, we should take away unnecessary barriers to employment,” he said.
Buttigieg said the new law is an intrusion on local control and that the city has worked with many ex-offenders who’ve made significant contributions.
“I’m not sure why they think this is best handled out of Indianapolis,” he said. “It’s part of a continuing pattern of the state taking flexibility away from local government.”
Some studies on the laws banning criminal history questions from job applications have found it has resulted in discrimination against black male applicants, said South Bend Common Council member Valerie Schey.
The studies have found that some employers in cities and states that don’t allow criminal history questions have rejected applicants they believe to be black based on their names and addresses, with the belief that they’re more likely to be ex-offenders.
Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order this spring that removes criminal history questions on initial applications for state jobs.
Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com