A former clerk in the office of the Hamilton County, Indiana, treasurer has sued the county, claiming wrongful termination.
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.
Retaliation is unfortunately often used by Indiana employers to threaten and silence their workers on a wide range of topics including workplace safety. Such actions as demotion or wrongful termination are illegal, and OSHA and other federal agencies have the authority to investigate complaints and protect whistleblowers in specific circumstances. OSHA now provides an online form with special features for employees to report retaliation.
On Aug. 2, an ex-Disney executive filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that she was fired in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. The woman says that two female employees came to her reporting that a vice-president had made inappropriate comments to them. Allegedly, he commented on the woman's appearances and voices. Some Indiana employees may have experienced similar treatment in the workplace.
Getting a sick day sounds like it should be a constitutional right. Unfortunately, the federal constitution does not promise workers sick days. Additionally, there are no federal laws that require companies to give sick days (although there could be a state law). The United States is an "at will" employment country, that means the baseline rule is that anyone can quit for any reason and anyone can fire you for any reason (except for a handful of exceptions like racism and sexism).
As an employee, you have the right to work in a workplace that's free from unsafe conditions. If you see hazardous conditions that could affect you and your co-workers, there's a moral calling to report it. Unfortunately, some employers may not like the extra scrutiny and financial obligations they'll incur in order to fix the issue. Since you're the one who spoke out, you become a target of retaliation. That could be:
When you go to work on time, rarely call in sick and never clock out early, you may be caught completely by surprise to get a call into your Human Resource manager's office where you are informed the company is parting ways with you. You are then given only a couple of minutes, with a member of management supervising, with which to gather your belongings and leave. There is no chance to notify clients you have developed relationships with and no time to clear your computer of anything private.