The Hoosier State of Indiana has a population of 6.4 million (according to a 2008 census estimate). Admitted into the U.S. in the 1800’s, Indiana is in many ways the ‘archetypal’ mid-western state. It is home to the Indianapolis-500 car race, the biggest one-day athletic event on Earth. Much of Indiana’s income comes from manufacturing.
According to a 2005 estimate, the state takes in a gross product of around $214 billion annually. Indiana does produce significant agricultural output, but machining industries dominate the state’s economy. Consider, for instance, the northern IN city of Gary, the childhood home of pop icon Michael Jackson. Gary teems with industrial operations to the point that the city’s industrial fires can be seen from space.
Yet despite Indiana’s productivity and the hard work ethic of its citizenry, the state has suffered significantly during the latest recession due to competition from cheaper manufacturers overseas. Nevertheless, Indiana maintains a low business tax rate that does encourage investment from out of state.
The group that oversees Indiana’s anti-discrimination initiatives and unemployment programs is the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (also known as IDWD). According to the IDWD’s website, the agency focuses on empowering state workers by helping them to find jobs, importing/creating jobs in the state, and improving the earning potential for workers.
The IDWD enforces state law, which outlaws discrimination on the basis of religion, national origin, citizenship status, gender, color, religion, and tobacco use. State companies that employ more than 15 people cannot discriminate on the basis of physical and mental disability. Also, companies that have more than a single employee cannot discriminate on the basis of age (from 40 to 70).
If a company employs more than six people, it falls under the jurisdiction of Indiana’s Antidiscrimination laws. The IDWD often works in conjunction with The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure that workers get treated fairly and that violations of the above provisions get investigated and that punishment is meted out accordingly. Indiana’s Civil Rights Commission, a sub division of the IDWD, acts as the enforcement agency for antidiscrimination law.
Specific forms of workplace discrimination commonly include wrongful termination or demotion, changes in benefits, lack of proper training, prejudicial hiring practices, failure to promote qualified employees, unfair reassignment, and more.
Sexual harassment may include unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching, sexual gestures, distribution of pornographic or explicit materials, solicitation for sexual favors, and any other sexual act that creates a hostile work environment. Employees who report discrimination or harassment to the proper authorities are considered “whistle-blowers” and are protected under retaliation laws.
Indiana labor politics has been complicated by the recent and widespread loss of industrial jobs in the state. Fired IN workers have claimed that they lost their jobs due to discrimination or retaliation. Employers have retorted that firing patterns that resemble retaliation or discrimination may in fact reflect random statistical chance.
Given the complexity of discrimination and retaliation cases, you need a well-versed attorney to help you determine your rights and the possible steps you can take legally. Connect with the appropriate government agency or a local attorney by searching here.