Indianapolis Employment Law Blog

A former city of Indianapolis worker files a discrimination claim

On Oct. 21, a one-time city of Indianapolis employee filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit in federal court against his former employer. In his filing, he accused them of having fired him because of his age and race. He also said that he believes his firing had to do with him verbally expressing his support for President Donald Trump and regularly wearing a "Make America Great Again" baseball cap to work.

Up until his firing in April, the self-described Caucasian employee worked for the city's Department of Public Works. He noted in his filing that he was born in 1958.

Working moms: your rights in the office

In today’s society, working mothers are extremely common. Women who balance work life and family time are not unusual but in some cases, even modern-day workplaces do not respect or account for this. Working mothers have certain rights that can help them juggle their work and family responsibilities, but unfortunately, some companies do not comply with these policies.

Here are three protections guaranteed to working mothers, by law:

Should waitresses expect to be harassed on the job?

If you're an Indianapolis waitress, you work hard for your tips. You realize that the paltry hourly wage you're paid will never pay the bills. You need to remain fast on your feet, have a keen memory for orders and regulars' favorites and a ready smile for all you serve in order to make ends meet.

But there's another, darker side to restaurant work that few realize — the endemic problem of sexual harassment on the job. One survey done in 2014 studied nearly 700 restaurant workers. Of that total, 80 percent reported that they had experienced on-the-job sexual harassment from their customers. Another two-thirds had been harassed by their managers and 50 percent by co-workers.

3 things you need to know about workplace retaliation

It doesn't matter if you enjoy your job or have run into issues in the past, you never know if you could face an instance of workplace retaliation. If this happens, it's imperative to understand your legal rights and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

There are many forms of workplace retaliation. This occurs when an employer takes adverse action against you because of something you did, such as filing a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment.

How to take a Family and Medical Leave Act leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is in place to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for a qualifying condition, such as the birth of a child or to care for an ill spouse.

To take advantage of FMLA benefits, you must first determine if you're eligible. If you are, it's time to take a few key steps.

Recognizing and fighting age discrimination in the workplace

Members of the workforce over a certain age may experience discrimination based on their age because of an employer’s misunderstanding or blatant ignorance of state and federal law. Far too frequently employers mistreat older workers, typically those over age 40, in an unlawful manner as a means to appease their bottom line.

If you’re an employee in Indiana and suspect age-based discrimination in the workplace, understand that you have options for recourse. To make an adequate and reasonable age discrimination complaint, it’s important to know some of the common types and indicators of this type of employee mistreatment.

How to deal with discrimination as an employee

As an employee, you hope that workplace discrimination never comes into play. However, if it does, sitting back and hoping that everything works out is not the best approach.

There are many ways to deal with discrimination as an employee, with these tips critical to your long-term well-being:

  • Tell your employer: Make it clear to your employer that you are the victim of discrimination. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page as to what happened and the resolution you expect.
  • Keep evidence: Maybe you have a photo associated with the act of discrimination. Or maybe you have an email that proves what went wrong. Regardless of the type of evidence, collect it for future use.
  • Review your employee handbook: This is where you will find your company's anti-discrimination policy. It should give you a clear idea of the steps to take.
  • Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): If you don't get satisfaction from your employer, this is the best way to take things to the next level.

Were you wrongfully discharged? Focus on these details

The thought of losing your job is enough to make your stomach turn. You know this would change your life in many ways, including the impact on your finances.

While there are times when people are laid off for valid reasons, such as when a company is downsizing, this is not always the case.

Take action as the victim of workplace sexual harassment

Even with a variety of federal and state laws in place, workplace sexual harassment remains a major problem throughout the country.

If you're the victim of workplace sexual harassment, you shouldn't wait to take action. This includes the following:

  • Speak your mind. This means one thing: letting the harasser know that you want them to stop at once. If you don't speak up, the person may begin to believe their behavior is acceptable.
  • Read your employee handbook. It's here that you will find information on workplace sexual harassment, including the steps your employer wants you to take to report the behavior. Follow the guidelines down to every last detail.
  • Keep records. You should take detailed notes regarding the instances of harassment, ranging from the time to the location to exactly what happened. If there is any sort of evidence, such as an email or photo, be sure to hold onto that as well.
  • Report it to your employer. This goes along with reading your employee handbook. Report the harassment to your employer, ask them what comes next and follow up as necessary.
  • Take legal action. If you're unable to work out a resolution through your employer, consider what you can do next. You may be able to seek remedies such as back pay, reinstatement if you lost your job and damages for emotional distress.

Can workers be fired for reporting sexual harassment?

Workers here in Indiana may have many fears when they have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. This includes a fear that they could lose their job if they report the conduct to their employer.

It is important for workers to know that federal law provides workers with protections on this front. This is due to federal anti-retaliation laws. These laws apply to a great many employers here in the United States. They prohibit employers from firing, or committing other retaliatory actions against, an employee for engaging in protected activities.

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