Labor and Employment Law Overview: Indiana

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • Indiana employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on a variety of factors. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Indiana employers must follow Indiana law addressing medical examinations, criminal history background checks and drug testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Indiana, there are numerous requirements relating to the minimum wage, overtime, lactation breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Indiana has a number of laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, paydays, pay statements and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Indiana law, employees are entitled to a number of leaves, including military family leave, military leave, civil air patrol leave, jury duty leave and emergency responder leave. See Attendance and Leave.
  • Indiana prohibits smoking in the workplace, but permits firearms in an employee's locked vehicle. See Health and Safety.
  • An Indiana employer must abide by state laws regarding termination pay and termination letters. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Indiana

Indiana is neither pro-employee nor pro-employer.

Select Indiana employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Indiana requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Indiana Civil Rights Law (ICRL)

The Indiana Civil Rights Law (ICRL) applies to private employers that have six or more employees within the state. The ICRL mirrors the federal Title VII in many respects and prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Color;
  • Sex;
  • Disability;
  • National origin;
  • Ancestry; and
  • Veteran status.

Indiana Employment Discrimination Against Disabled Persons Act (IEDADPA)

The Indiana Employment Discrimination Against Disabled Persons Act (IEDADPA) applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The IEDADPA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities and requires a covered employer to provide reasonable accommodations for such individuals.

Indiana Age Discrimination Act (IADA)

The Indiana Age Discrimination Act (IADA) applies to employers with one or more employees, with certain exceptions for charitable, religious, fraternal, education or sectarian corporations or associations that are not organized for profit. The IADA does not apply to employers that are subject to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which covers employers with 20 or more employees. The IADA applies to individuals ages 40 to 74.

Wage Discrimination

Indiana's Minimum Wage Law prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex. An employer is permitted to base differences in pay on other legitimate, nondiscriminatory factors (e.g., seniority or merit).

Additional Prohibited Discrimination

Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against employees who:

  • Are subject to a protective order;
  • Exercise their religious beliefs;
  • Lawfully possess a firearm; or
  • Use tobacco products.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Indiana can be found in the Indiana Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Disabilities (ADA): Indiana, EEO - Discrimination: Indiana, Indiana Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Indiana? Federal requirements can be found in Disabilities (ADA): Federal and EEO - Discrimination: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Indiana requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Medical Examinations

An employer may require a job applicant to submit to a medical examination after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. An employer may condition an applicant's employment offer on the medical examination, if all applicants in the same job category are subject to the same requirement. The medical examination need not be job-related or consistent with business necessity unless it has the effect of screening out employees with disabilities.

Criminal History

An employer may conduct criminal history checks on job applicants, but should be aware that Indiana law permits certain individuals (e.g., nonviolent offenders) to request a court to order the state police to restrict a prospective employer's access to certain criminal records. The individual must have completed his or her sentence at least eight years earlier.

A job applicant who has successfully had access to his or her criminal records restricted may lawfully state on an application for employment that he or she has not been arrested or convicted with respect to the offenses contained in the restricted records.

However, Indiana law does not prohibit employers from (1) asking job applicants whether they have had their criminal record restricted, or (2) refusing to hire a job applicant based on the information contained in the restricted record, if it somehow comes to the employer's attention (e.g., the police fail to withhold the information).

Under Indiana law, several categories of occupations must undergo mandatory criminal background checks, including, in some cases, national and state sex offender registry checks. These occupations include:

  • Hazardous material drivers;
  • Child care workers;
  • Home health/personal service workers;
  • Licensed health care professionals;
  • Teachers;
  • Loan brokers;
  • Real estate appraisers; and
  • Wholesale drug distributors.

Drug Testing

Indiana employers may require job applicants to submit to drug testing. To minimize exposure to discrimination lawsuits under state and federal law, an employer should similarly test all applicants for the same job and should test applicants only after making a conditional offer of employment.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Indiana can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Indiana. Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Indiana requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

Indiana's minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal rate. There are certain exemptions (e.g., tipped employees). Indiana's Minimum Wage Law applies to employers that have two or more employees and that are not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Overtime

Indiana employers must pay nonexempt employees one and-one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

Lactation Breaks

An Indiana employer with 25 or more employees must provide breaks for employees who need to express breast milk. To the extent reasonably possible, the employer must:

  • Provide a private location (other than a toilet stall) where an employee can express breast milk during any period away from the employee's assigned duties; and
  • Provide a refrigerator or other cold storage space or allow the employee to provide her own portable cold storage device for keeping milk that has been expressed until the end of the workday.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Indiana restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

Most Indiana employers may not employ minors under 14 years old. A child aged under 14 may not be employed in any occupation except as a farm laborer, domestic service worker, golf caddie or newspaper carrier.

Indiana prohibits minors between 16 and 18 years of age from working in any occupation that is dangerous to life or limb or injurious to health or morals.

Indiana restricts the times a minor under age 18 can work, which vary depending on the employee's age. All minors who are scheduled to work six or more consecutive hours are entitled to one or two rest breaks totaling at least 30 minutes.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Indiana can be found in the Indiana Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Minimum Wage: Indiana, Overtime: Indiana, Hours Worked: Indiana, Child Labor: Indiana, Indiana Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Indiana? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Overtime: Federal, Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Indiana requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Pay Frequency

Indiana law requires that employees be paid at least semimonthly, or biweekly if requested by the employee. Employees must be paid no later than 10 business days after the regular pay period ends.

Wage Deductions

Indiana treats deductions from an employee's wages made at the direction of the employee as wage assignments. For a wage assignment to be valid and enforceable against an employee in Indiana, it must be:

  • Written;
  • Signed by the employee;
  • Revocable at any time upon the employee's written notice to the employer;
  • Agreed to in writing by the employer; and
  • Delivered to the employer within 10 days after its execution.

Only certain categories of deductions are allowed, including, but not limited to:

  • Insurance premiums;
  • Charitable contributions;
  • Labor union dues; and
  • Employee contributions to a hospital service or medical expense plan.

Pay Statements

Indiana law requires every employer subject to Indiana's Minimum Wage Law to furnish each employee a statement of the following:

  • Hours worked;
  • Wages paid; and
  • Itemized deductions.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in Indiana can be found in Payment of Wages: Indiana, Indiana Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Indiana? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Military Family Leave

Indiana employers with 50 or more employees must provide an unpaid leave of absence of up to 10 workdays to eligible employees who have a spouse, parent, grandparent, child or sibling who is called to active military service exceeding 89 consecutive calendar days.

Other Leave Laws Affecting Indiana Employers

In addition to military family leave, an Indiana employer is also required to comply with other leave laws, such as:

  • Military leave;
  • Civil air patrol leave;
  • Emergency responder leave;
  • Mobile support unit leave;
  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Witness leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on attendance and leave practices in Indiana can be found in the Indiana Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Other Leaves: Indiana, Jury Duty: Indiana, USERRA: Indiana, and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Indiana? Federal requirements can be found in Other Leaves: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Indiana requirements impacting health and safety are:

Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Act (Indiana OSH Act)

Indiana operates an approved state OSH plan covering the private sector. The Indiana OSH Act is almost identical to the federal OSH Act and expressly incorporates the federal regulations by reference.

Smoking

Indiana law prohibits smoking in enclosed areas of places of employment and within eight feet of any public entrance to a place of employment. Exceptions apply.

An employer is required to:

  • Inform employees of the smoking prohibition;
  • Remove ash trays and other smoking paraphernalia that is not for retail sale;
  • Post conspicuous signs at public entrances that state, "State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of This Entrance" or other similar language; and
  • Refrain from retaliating against employees or prospective employees for exercising their rights under the law or for reporting violations of the law.

Firearms

Indiana allows employees to carry and store firearms or ammunition in the employee's vehicle (i.e., a locked trunk or glove compartment, or elsewhere provided it is out of plain sight and the vehicle is locked). An employer may prohibit an employee from carrying a firearm or ammunition elsewhere on the employer's property.

An employer generally is prohibited from requiring an employee to disclose whether he or she owns, possesses, uses or transports a firearm or ammunition.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on health and safety practices in Indiana can be found in the Indiana Employee Handbook Table of Contents, HR and Workplace Safety: Indiana, Employee Health: Indiana, Workplace Security: IndianaIndiana Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Indiana? Federal requirements can be found in HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal, Employee Health: Federal and Workplace Security: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Key Indiana requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Paycheck

If an employee leaves employment voluntarily, the employer does not have to pay the former employee until the next regular payday. If, however, the employee leaves and the employer does not know where to reach the employee, the employer is not required to pay the employee until 10 days after he or she makes a demand for wages or provides the employer with a current address.

If an employee is terminated involuntarily, the employer must pay the wages by the next regular payday.

References

Under Indiana law, an employer that discloses information about a current or former employee is immune from civil liability for the disclosure and its consequences unless the employee proves that at the time the employer disclosed the information, the employer knew the information was false.

Indiana law requires an employer to issue a former employee a termination letter upon the former employee's written request stating whether the employee quit or was involuntarily discharged.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Indiana can be found in Payment of Wages: Indiana and Employee Communications: Indiana. Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.