Earlier this year, Indiana passed a law that prevented municipalities from imposing ban-the-box policies, and granted business owners permission to ask an individual about their criminal history on a job application. But in Indianapolis and Marion County, the City-County Council seems to have found a loophole by crafting a proposal that would disincentivize businesses in the area from using the “box” in their hiring process. For businesses or contractors looking for tax abatement, the council’s proposal suggests that those who ban the box will get preference, according to IndyStar.
Asking about criminal history on a job application is not prohibited formally, but Indianapolis is explicitly trying to disincentivize the practice. Companies that ban the box will be favored in winning contracts with the city and other tax incentives.
This puts small business owners at a disadvantage because they often don’t have the resources nor a designated department to screen their job applicants. Without asking about criminal history directly on a job application, small business employers may end up wasting time in their hiring process because they are unable to ask about an applicant’s criminal history until later, or it can add costs for a thorough vetting.