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Workplace sexual harassment in Indiana

The Indiana State Personnel Department provides a definition of workplace sexual harassment. It includes requests for favors of a sexual nature, unwelcome advances and other physical or verbal sexual conduct where such conduct is meant to or does unreasonably interfere with work performance or creates a hostile work environment or where submission to such conduct is implicitly or explicitly made a term of employment or used in making individual employment decisions, such as promotion or demotion.

Sexual harassment cases often involve complex legal issues; interested parties may choose to review state resources prior to or after securing legal counsel. Some general information is available, for example, on the Workplace Harassment Information page maintained by the ISPD. The state will not retaliate in any way against a person who makes a good faith report of sexual harassment. Nor is any employee, officer or supervisor permitted to retaliate. Indeed, any person who retaliates against another for a good faith report of sexual harassment may be subject to disciplinary action on the same level as a sexual harassment offender.

Complaints should be made in writing; verbal reports must be put into writing and signed by the complainant. The ISPD encourages people to keep written records of inappropriate sexual conduct, but individuals should be aware that such records may not be confidential under Indiana law and may be disclosed during legal proceedings. Notes and records may be useful during the preparation of the case or as corroborating evidence during proceedings.

The ISPD advises that complaints be promptly reported so appropriate action can be taken, but says that, due to the sensitive nature of the conduct involved, reporting time is not limited. An employment law attorney may be able to help those who suspect harassment in the workplace to understand their rights and obligations or to seek remedy under the law.

Source: IN.gov, "Workplace Harassment Information", August 14, 2014

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