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Pursuing a workplace harassment claim

Indiana employees who work for the state are protected by federal and state statutes that prohibit workplace harassment. If an individual feels that his or her rights have been violated, a process has been put in place to provide protection. Unwelcome sexual advances constitute one form of sexual harassment, according to the Indiana State Personnel Department. Such conduct must be made as a condition of the employee's employment, be used as a reason for adverse employment decisions or have the purpose of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work.

Individuals who believe that they are being harassed may want to maintain a record of such conduct. When the state agency investigates a complaint, an investigator examines the written report. If a written version of events does not exist, a claimant can verbalize this information to the individual who is designated to receive complaints of this nature and then the claimant signs the report.

Affected individuals do not have a limited period of time to bring forth a harassment claim as they may in other states, due to Indiana's recognition that such conduct can cause an emotional reaction and the problems involved are often sensitive in nature. Additionally, state employees cannot be retaliated against due to their report of sexual harassment. This protection extends to supervisors, officers or other agents of the state. If such an individual does retaliate against the state worker in prohibition of law after a worker has made a good faith complaint of sexual harassment, he or she is subject to the same type of disciplinary action as the offender is subjected to.

Individuals who believe that they have been subjected to workplace harassment may decide to pursue action against the guilty party. A lawyer may be able to help file the necessary paperwork and suggest what remedies are available.

Source: Indiana Gov, "Workplace Harassment Information ", October 13, 2014

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