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Indianapolis Employment Law Blog

Examples of workplace retaliation

As someone who works in Indiana, you have certain rights, and one of them involves your right to “blow the whistle” if your employer is engaging in illegal or unethical acts. Your employer may not retaliate against you for your decision to call attention to the wrongdoing, meaning he or she cannot treat you unfairly or differently than others in your place of business to “punish” you for speaking out. At the Employment Law Office of John H. Haskin & Associates, LLC, we have a strong understanding of what types of behaviors constitute workplace retaliation, and we have helped many victims of it seek recourse.

Retaliation in the workplace, per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, can manifest in many ways, and it does not always look the same. In some instances, it might be overt, such as you getting fired or demoted shortly after you make the decision to blow the whistle on your employer. Your employer may also transfer you to a less-desirable position than you previously held, or intentionally make your work more difficult for you by changing your hours, giving you less-desirable shifts and so on.

What does reasonable accommodation mean?

Federal and state law entitles disabled employees to protection from employment discrimination. Discrimination can come in various forms, including refusal to hire or promote, harassment and unequal pay.

Disabled workers may also face discrimination in the form of refusing to make reasonable accommodations, as mandated by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

When is an employment contract necessary?

When getting a new job in Indiana, you may be asked to sign an employment contract. However, this is not always common practice. Many industries do not routinely use contracts for employment, but there are some specific jobs or situations where an employment contract is necessary.

According to The Balance, an employment contract is usually used for high-level management positions or when hiring a professional. These situations typically call for using some type of binding agreement because such employees may be more difficult to replace than your typical employee if they were to quit. These documents will usually say you cannot quit for a specific amount of time and often have penalties if you do.

What constitutes religious harassment?

Harassment in the workplace is something you have the right to be protected against. You should never be made to feel uncomfortable because of your religious affiliation when at work in Indiana. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, religious harassment is when someone causes your work environment to be difficult because of his or her issues with your religious choices. It is a complex situation because harassment is more than just a single incident.

The basis of proving harassment is that it must be an ongoing activity. It cannot be a one-time issue. For example, if someone makes a negative comment about your religion only one time and never again brings it up, then it is not classified as harassment. This classification requires a hostile workplace where you are repeatedly being pursued by others. It can also include effects on your work status, such as you being fired due to your religion or due to other employees not being comfortable with your religion.

What qualifies as wrongful termination?

If you have been fired from your job, you may wonder if the situation falls under the umbrella of wrongful termination. In most cases, the answer will be no. This is because Indiana is an employment-at-will state. You or your employer can end employment for any reason at any time. At John H. Haskin & Associates, LLC, we want you to understand your employment rights and know when something is not lawful and could be wrongful termination.

While in most cases, your employer has every right to fire you for any reason, there are some exceptions. You cannot be fired for not doing something that violates the law. In addition, you cannot be fired for exercising your right to workers' compensation. Basically, anything that is a retaliation against something you have legally done might fall under wrongful termination.

How should an employer respond to discrimination?

Discrimination in the workplace should never be tolerated. There are many laws in place to help Indiana employers, but even if you do follow the law, you may still be vulnerable to discrimination claims. This is why you should take extra steps to create a welcoming and friendly workplace environment.

According to Monster, there are some specific ideas you can implement in your business to help prevent discrimination from occurring. These range from creating an environment where discrimination cannot happen to encouraging diversity among your employees. One specific idea is to create policies that encourage diversity in work groups. Reward those who show initiative in creating diversity and who work well with others who are different from them.

Understanding the dangers of workplace romance

Everybody wants to find a suitable mate, and when you spend 40 hours a week at the office, your eye might naturally turn to your colleagues for romantic prospects. While this is an understandable impulse, anybody who has been on the receiving end of such attention knows that it is often uncomfortable at best. According to Fast Company, such dalliances might boost productivity, but they are rarely as harmless as you might imagine.

The following are some of the most common reasons why dating in the workplace can be a disastrous endeavor. When things go wrong, it is likely to negatively impact both parties, so it is best to keep things strictly professional when you are at work.

What is a nondisclosure agreement?

When you start a new job in Indiana, you may be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Before you sign, it is important to understand what exactly the document is and how it may affect you and your career. According to Forbes, a nondisclosure agreement is designed to protect confidential information. It may be used by an employer to ensure you cannot share with anyone anything you learn or become exposed to while on the job.

Most agreements contain specific elements that spell out the details. They include what is covered as confidential and what is excluded. In addition, they must include the names of those involved. For an employer's NDA, this would usually be the employer's name and your name.

Understanding what behaviors constitute workplace harassment

While you may excel at performing assigned job tasks, working with people you do not get along with can make things challenging. Understanding the types of behavior that qualify as workplace harassment can help you protect your personal safety and the reputation of your career in Indiana. At John H. Haskin & Associates LLC, we are familiar with what is and is not appropriate in a workplace setting.

The United States Department of Labor shared a list of behaviors and mannerisms that pose a threat to you if you are the recipient of such actions. These include the following:

  • Excessive complimenting in regards to your physical appearance.
  • Public display of sexually sensitive material in your view.
  • Hostile physical behavior that is threatening to your safety.
  • The use of crude language, inappropriate lingo and foul gestures in communications with you.
  • Physical contact that is unnecessary, excessive or unwanted.
  • Damaging or demeaning the work you have done in private or public.

3 ways employers avoid paying overtime

Overtime can be lucrative for employees who are willing to put in the extra hours, but some employees are surprised when they find they are not compensated for their additional work. There are some circumstances in which overtime laws are not applicable, but in most cases, if you work more than 40 hours in a given week, your employer must adjust your compensation rate accordingly. These are three ways companies commonly try to avoid it.

Use salary as an excuse

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