Your job is important, and safeguarding your employment rights is vital to your success and well-being. To that end, the employment law attorneys at Ramey & Hailey work aggressively to protect you from discrimination in the workplace and to ensure that you are able to exercise your rights.
Like most states, Indiana is an employment at-will state. This means that an employee may be fired at any time for any (lawful) reason, or for no reason at all. Likewise, an employee may quit at any time for any reason, or for no reason. Nevertheless, many protections do exist in the employment context to ensure that the employee is treated fairly and working in a safe environment.
A host of federal and state laws exist to protect your civil rights. At every stage of the employment process, from pre-employment screenings and interviews, to hiring, promotions, transfers and assignments, termination, or layoff, every employment decision must be made without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, or other protected classes.
Sexual Harassment is another type of prohibited discrimination. Employers may not condition favorable job treatment on sexual favors (quid pro quo harassment), nor may supervisors or co-workers create a hostile work environment through inappropriate touching or offensive or suggestive language. Qualified individuals with a disability are also protected from workplace discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
People are also protected against discrimination based on age. The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination in employment decisions against anyone who is forty years old or older. This law is often implicated when companies consider layoffs due to lack of funds. Since older workers are generally better-paid and therefore represent a greater cost to the company, plans weighted more heavily to laying off older workers might make economic sense to the company. However, any reductions in force which have a disparate impact on the over-40 set or treat them differently from younger workers could cause problems for the employer. Mandatory retirement plans must also be carefully scrutinized to avoid running afoul of the Act’s protections.
Both the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its Indiana counterpart (IOSHA) are tasked with seeing that employers operate within certain standards of safety. OSHA is responsible for enforcing over a dozen federal statutes which impact worker safety, including laws relating to clean air and water, asbestos, and toxic substances. Employees may institute an OSHA inspection by filing a complaint, and are protected from employer retaliation by whistleblower protections in both OSHA and IOSHA.
Generally speaking, Workers Compensation is the exclusive remedy available to employees for injuries sustained on the job. Workers’ Compensation is available when an employee is injured or killed on the job. Injuries can be classified as partial or total, temporary or permanent. The amount and duration of compensation is dependant upon the classification of the injury.
Even after you become separated from employment, you have rights within the employment law context. Unemployment compensation is generally available to employees who are terminated without cause or who leave for good cause. If you had access to group health insurance before being separated from employment, you may be able to continue your health insurance at the group rate for up to 18 months under a federal law known as COBRA. Finally, if your former employer gives a referral to a prospective employer which is false and damages your reputation, you may be able to recover the damages you suffered from your former employer.
Whether the issue is unique to you or requires a firm that can deal with multidistrict litigation that is national in scope, you need an attorney who knows the laws and your rights. To discuss your employment law claim, contact the employment lawyers at Ramey & Hailey today.