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Quick and Easy Guide to Labor & Employment Law: Indiana

This state-specific guide covers labor and employment case law, statutes, rules, and regulations that HR professionals and clients often encounter or have questions about in Indiana.

At-Will Employment

Indiana is an at-will employment state. Generally, employers may discharge employees for any reason or no reason. There are three primary exceptions to the employment at will doctrine: (1) adequate independent consideration (e.g., assurance from the employer of job security or permanency); (2) statutory right or duty is violated (e.g., workers' compensation retaliation); (3) promissory estoppel (e.g., employee relied upon employer promise to detriment). Orr v. Westminster Village North, Inc., 689 N.E.2d 712 (Ind. 1997).

Right-to-Work Laws

Indiana is a right-to-work state. No employer, labor organization or any person may require an individual to become or remain a member of a labor organization, or pay dues, fees or assessments (or charitable donation substitutes) as a condition of employment, new or continued. HEA 1001

Immigration Verification

Employers in Indiana should refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules, but Indiana does not require private employers to use the E-Verify system. 

Drug Testing

Indiana is one of the few states without laws restricting employer drug testing of employees. Employers are therefore free to drug test applicants and employees as long as the testing is not otherwise discriminatory or unlawful.

Jury Duty Leave

An employer may not subject an employee to an adverse employment action (e.g., termination, demotion, discipline) for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury. Indiana does not require employers to pay an employee for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury. Ind. Code § 33-28-5-24.3.

Voting Leave

Indiana does not have a law which requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.

Parental Leave

There is no Indiana statute providing for parental leave, but the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) gives employees the right to take time off to bond with a new child as part of their 12-week leave entitlement. 5 U.S.C. § 6382.   

Smoking Laws

Nearly all indoor public places (including places of work) are smoke-free due to the Indiana Smoke-Free Air Law (2012). Smoking is still permitted in bars, tobacco shops, gaming facilities and other similar establishments. 

Break Time to Express Milk

Indiana has no specific legislation to protect or support breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. If the mother is protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child. Additionally, under the FLSA, employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.

Meal Breaks

Indiana has no statute regulating breaks for meals except with respect to minors. If the FLSA applies to the employer, then an employee who takes a break that is 20 minutes or less must be paid for the break time at their normal rate. An employer does not have to pay for a break if it is longer than 20 minutes and the employee is relieved of all work during the break.

Minimum Wage

Indiana's required minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage rate, $7.25 per hour. 

Unemployment Insurance

Indiana has an unemployment insurance system administered by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which requires most Indiana employers to contribute to the state unemployment insurance fund.  More information is available here: www.in.gov/dwd/indiana-unemployment/.

Workers' Compensation

Indiana has a workers' compensation program that is administered by the Indiana Workers' Compensation Board. The workers' compensation laws apply to all public and private entities employing one or more employees. More information related to Indiana workers' compensation laws is available here: www.in.gov/wcb/employers/

Firearm/Weapon Laws

Indiana prohibits any person (including employers) from enforcing a rule or policy that prohibits an employee from possessing a firearm or ammunition that is locked in the trunk of the employee’s vehicle or glove box. The restriction does not apply to certain locations such as schools. Ind. Code § 35-47-2-1.

Additional Laws and Regulations

Minimum Age

Beginning July 1, 2021, employers wishing to employ minors can no longer use Indiana school work permits and must instead register through the Indiana Department of Labor's Youth Employment System (YES) site. Like most states, Indiana restricts the hours of employment and types of employment for which minors are eligible. As examples, minors 14 to 15 years of age cannot begin work before 7:00 a.m. or end work after 7:00 p.m. on a day that precedes a school day. Minors 16 and 17 years of age cannot work more than eight hours per day or 30 hours per week. Restrictions are detailed in Ind. Code §§ 22-2-18.1-17 et seq.

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Guide last updated July 2021.

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