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June 19 2014

Joining Other States and Localities, Indianapolis "Bans the Box" for City Vendors and Further Restricts Criminal Background Inquiries

"Mayor Gregory A. Ballard recently signed an ordinance that generally prohibits the Consolidated City of Indianapolis and Marion County (hereinafter, ""City"") and its vendors from inquiring into an applicant 's criminal history until after the applicant 's first interview.

In addition to ""banning the box,"" the Ordinance further restricts the types of arrest and conviction records the City or its vendors may ask about or otherwise consider following the first interview. The Ordinance joins an ever-growing patchwork of laws that curbs inquiries into or the use of an applicant and|or employee 's criminal history in employment decisions. Indeed, approximately 10 states and 50 localities have ""banned the box"" and, although many of these laws only apply to public employers, several local ordinances cover government contractors.

And, many more jurisdictions have imposed other limitations on criminal background checks for private and public employers, as well as for city vendors. When vendors violate the Ordinance, the City may deny awards of contracts. Vendors also may incur a fine of no more than $2,500 for a first violation and $7,500 for a second or subsequent violation. Unless otherwise exempted, vendors should refrain from asking questions relating to arrests and|or convictions until after the applicant 's first interview. "