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Indiana jobless rate continues to rise

The employment situation in Indiana has been worsening in recent months. Though the state unemployment rate of 8.9 percent is still slightly below the national average, unemployment claims have risen for five straight months. Approximately 2,900 jobs were lost in October and around 273,000 Indiana residents are now looking for work. The loss of jobs during the last three months has been the largest increase in unemployment in Indiana since 1993.

What this means for Indiana employees is that the loss of a job for whatever reason is going to be more devastating since finding a job to replace it will be increasingly more difficult. Families across the state are already cash strapped and personal savings have dwindled. A job lost due to harassment, discrimination, unfair labor practices, wrongful' termination or for various employment disputes could cost families their homes and drive them into bankruptcy.

When employers are faced with choices as to who should or should not be cut from their labor force, the temptation is to resort to various shortcuts that may be in violation of federal and state labor laws. Employees may be laid-off without notice and for arbitrary reasons that could constitute illegal discrimination.

Employees may be discriminated against due to race, gender or union affiliation. Employees that are not let go may nevertheless be asked to perform tasks that are in violation of their employment contracts. Employers may replace longtime employees with what they define as "independent contractors," though these replacement workers do not actually fit the definitions of "independent contractors." Under any of these scenarios, individuals that suspect wrong doing on the part of the employer may require legal consultation.

These have been challenging times for both employers and employees. Hopefully, the unemployment situation in Indiana will reverse its trend and begin to improve.

Source: nwi.com, "Indiana jobless rate continues upward trend," by Matt Saltanovitz, Nov. 22, 2011

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