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 law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Indiana permits preemployment criminal history background checks. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Indiana, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage, overtime, breastfeeding breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Indiana has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including payment of wages, pay frequency, pay statements and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Indiana law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including military family leave, military leave, Civil Air Patrol leave, jury duty leave and emergency responder leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • Indiana prohibits smoking in the workplace, texting while driving and weapons in the workplace, but permits weapons in an employee's locked vehicle. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, Indiana employers must comply with applicable final pay and job reference requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Indiana

Indiana has some laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including broader antidiscrimination coverage and emergency responder leave, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as the minimum wage, overtime pay and occupational safety.

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:

Fair Employment Practices

The Indiana Civil Rights Law (ICRL), which applies to private employers that have six or more employees within the state, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of protected characteristics such as:

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

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.

The Indiana Age Discrimination Act (IADA) applies to employers with one or more employees, but 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.

Equal Pay

Indiana's Minimum Wage Law prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions. An employer is permitted to base differences in pay on other legitimate, nondiscriminatory factors (e.g., seniority or merit). The law applies to employers with two or more employees and that are not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

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, EEO - Harassment: Indiana, EEO - Retaliation: 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, EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal and EEO - Retaliation: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

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 (e.g., misdemeanors, Class D felonies not resulting in injury to a person). 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 a job application 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 an employer from asking job applicants whether they have had their criminal record restricted. An employer may refuse 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).

In addition, an individual may have prior convictions that do not involve sexual or violent crimes expunged from his or her criminal record. An employer is prohibited from refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against an applicant with an expunged conviction or arrest record.

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 and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in 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 in a workweek.

Breastfeeding 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.

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:

Payment of Wages

Wages must be paid in cash or by negotiable check, draft or money order. Employees may also be paid by electronic transfer of funds to a financial institution designated by the employee.

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

An employer may make deductions from an employee's wages if required by state or federal law or court order, including but not limited to child support withholding, creditor garnishments and tax levies.

Indiana allows voluntary wage assignments only in limited circumstances. Any direction given by an employee to an employer to make a wage deduction constitutes an assignment of wages. An assignment of wages is valid only if it is:

  • 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

Every employer subject to Indiana's Minimum Wage Law must furnish each employee with a pay statement each pay period showing the following:

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

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 pay and benefits practices in Indiana can be found in Payment of Wages: Indiana, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: 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 and Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Indiana has several laws relating to required time off and leaves of absence for employees. These laws include:

  • Military family leave (covering employers with 50 or more employees);
  • 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 time off and leave of absence practices in Indiana can be found in the Indiana Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Other Leaves: Indiana, FMLA: 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, FMLA: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Indiana requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

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.

Weapons in the Workplace

An Indiana employer may not that prohibit employees from keeping a legally possessed firearm or ammunition in any of the following places in his or her vehicle:

  • The locked trunk; and
  • The glove compartment or otherwise out of plain sight, if the vehicle is locked.

An employer may prohibit an employee from carrying a firearm or ammunition elsewhere on its 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.

Safe Driving Practices

Indiana prohibits texting while driving.

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: Indiana, Indiana 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 Pay

An Indiana employer generally must pay an employee's final wages by the next regular payday, whether the employee voluntarily quit or was involuntarily terminated.

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 the employer knew the information was false at the time it made the disclosure.

Upon termination of employment, an employee may file a written request for a reference letter. The employer must provide a signed service letter simply stating whether the employee quit or was involuntarily terminated.

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, Employee Communications: Indiana and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Indiana? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.