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Domestic violence and wrongful termination

In Indiana, an employee who is a victim of spousal abuse can also be fired from their job if the employer is alerted to the employee's personal situation. Though this may seem like wrongful termination of employment, employers will use the excuse that they need to protect their other employees under such difficult circumstances.

Certain advocates feel that Indiana does need to address these circumstances. Though the state can take pride in its efforts to address domestic violence, it still has not provided the abused spouse with the protection of having their job eliminated due to the actions of the other spouse that engages in the violent acts.

An Indianapolis woman did file a lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis concerning these very concerns. However, the case was never decided upon the merits as it was settled before a trial was actually completed. Her employer provided her a job at another branch rather than face adverse publicity from the termination of a victim of domestic violence.

Though the laws in Indiana may be less than satisfactory, the above case does indicate that victims of domestic violence have some leverage when it comes to the courts. Attorneys that practice in the area of employment law can often provide such individuals with a number of options in the face of being terminated from their position at work.

Fifteen other states do prohibit employees from being fired for reporting cases of domestic abuse. Though Indiana is not one of those states, it does at least provide unemployment compensation for women fired under such circumstances.

Nevertheless, victims of domestic violence should not have to fear the consequences of reporting what is occurring while at the same time fearing they may lose their job.

Source: Courier Journal, "Victims of abuse in Indiana can face double pain: loss of job," by John Tuohy, May 20, 2012

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