The Indiana legislature recently passed a bill limiting a local government entity’s ability to regulate private employers within its territorial boundaries. Senate Bill No. 213, set to be signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, specifically restricts a county, city, town, or township from requiring that an employer provide employees any benefit, term of employment, working condition, or an attendance or leave policy that exceeds the requirements of federal or state law.
The bill’s intent was to establish uniformity regarding employee benefits (e.g. minimum wage rate). Lawmakers have since realized, however, that the bill has an unintended consequence. As written, the bill nullifies local anti-discrimination ordinances that provide more protection to employees than state or federal law (e.g. sexual orientation and gender identity). This is problematic given the fact that municipalities are increasingly enacting anti-discrimination ordinances of this nature. Thus, Senate Bill 213 underscores a tension employers will likely continue to see moving forward.