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Total Articles: 23

Employers Beware: Indiana Supreme Court Expands the Scope of the “Duty of Care” Owed to a Subcontractor’s Employees

In light of a recent decision from the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana employers—and construction companies in particular—should review their contracts and subcontracts to determine if they have unwittingly assumed a duty of care for other entities’ employees. In Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractors, Inc. et al., the Court ruled that a general contractor’s “form contract” with its client caused it to assume a duty of care to keep a worksite safe for a sub-subcontractor’s employee—even though the general contractor’s subcontract placed the onus of securing employee safety on the subcontractor. — N.E.3d —, 2017 WL 148885 (Ind. Apr. 26, 2017). As a result of this ruling, a general contractor can potentially be liable to a subcontractor’s employee who suffers a workplace injury.

Indiana Legislature Bans “Ban the Box” Ordinances

Some cities and counties across the country have enacted local ordinances restricting the ability of employers to inquire into the criminal histories of applicants during various stages of the job application process. (These ordinances are commonly known as “ban the box” legislation.) However, the Indiana General Assembly recently passed a bill that prohibits local governments from adopting such ordinances in Indiana. Senate Bill 312 prohibits political subdivisions (including counties, municipalities, and townships) from enacting ordinances that interfere with an employer’s ability to obtain or use criminal history information during the hiring process to the extent allowed by state or federal law.

Indianapolis Office Newsletter – First Quarter 2017

Under a constructive discharge theory, an employee’s limitation period to file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission begins upon the constructive discharge, not before, the United States Supreme Court has ruled, giving clarity to timing considerations of constructive discharge claims. Green v. Brennan, 136 S. Ct. 1769 (2016).

Indiana Local Income Tax Reform Effective Soon

The Indiana Department of Revenue has issued guidance regarding changes in the nonresident local income tax rate and the structure of the local income tax rates in general.

Indiana Employment Law Update: 5 Changes to Laws You Should Know

A number of significant changes to Indiana employment law took effect on July 1, 2015. These changes affected employer’s obligations in areas such as hiring, wages, discrimination, and termination. If employers have not already done so, they should review and revise their policies and procedures to ensure that they are in compliance with these changes.

Indiana Wage Law Amendments Become Effective on July 1, 2015

Two significant changes to Indiana’s wage laws will become effective on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. First, liquidated damages will no longer be mandatory when an employer violates Indiana’s Wage Payment or Wage Claims statutes. Instead, a court must find that the employer was not acting in good faith to award liquidated damages. Second, as long as all other requirements of the Indiana Wage Assignment Statute are met, Indiana employers now will be expressly allowed to make wage deductions for: (a) the sale of goods or food sold to an employee; (b) the purchase price of uniforms and equipment; (c) reimbursements for education or employee skills training; and (d) payroll or vacation pay advances.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and Wage and Hour Law

Unless you are living under a rock, you are probably aware of the uproar in Indiana about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that the state passed, triggering an incredible backlash inside and outside the state and a rush by legislators to revise the newly-enacted law. When even NASCAR is criticizing legislation instead of talking about its current season, you know that you have a serious problem. For those of you looking for a more balanced, statutory analysis of the issues underlying the RFRA debate, I would recommend that you start here and here.

Continuing to Withstand Attack: Indiana Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Indiana's Right to Work Law

Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Indiana Right to Work Law, rejecting a union’s claim that the state statute violates the Indiana Constitution. The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision comes roughly two months after the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears appeals from federal trial courts in Indiana) rejected the same union’s challenges to the Indiana law based on federal preemption and constitutional grounds.

Indiana Court Finds Employee’s Attempt At Humor Was Not Protected Religious Expression

Ronald Ogle worked as a Community Employment Specialist for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (IDWD). On November 10, 2012, he forwarded to his coworkers an email that included a picture of a barbeque restaurant named “Little Pigs Genuine Pit.” The restaurant’s marquee contained the words, “Safest Restaurant on Earth, No Muslims Inside.” In addition to forwarding the picture, Ogle commented, “I think this is wonderful.” Several coworkers found the email and Ogle’s comment offensive and complained to management. Ogle subsequently was suspended and discharged effective December 12, 2012.

Indiana Right-to-Work Law Suffers Major Blow

Indiana’s new right-to-work law suffered a major blow when a state superior court judge ruled the legislation violated the state’s constitution. The Indiana Attorney General said the state will appeal the case directly to the state supreme court. The law will continue in effect unless and until that court strikes it down.

Indiana Enacts Right-To-Work Legislation -- The Pendulum Swings Back

Indiana just enacted a new law, making it the nation’s 23rd "right-to-work" state, meaning it bans collective bargaining agreements that require union membership or paying fees as a condition of employment. Will other states follow?

Indiana’s Right-to-Work Law: Frequently Asked Questions

On February 1, 2012, Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill that makes Indiana the nation’s 23rd right-to-work state. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the law. In addition, on Wednesday, February 22, Ogletree Deakins will host a webinar to discuss the law in greater detail.

Indiana Enacts Right-To-Work Legislation: Will The Rest Of The Rust Belt Follow?

On February 1, 2012, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed right-to-work legislation into law. Right-to-work laws prohibit anyone from forcing a person to join or support a union as a condition of employment. That is to say, they protect an individual's fundamentally American "right to work" without being forced to join, or pay any of their earnings, to any group. Right-to-work laws do not in any way prevent people from joining or paying dues to a union if they freely choose to do so.

Indiana Enacts Right-to-Work Law: Becomes the Only Right-to-Work State in the Central Midwest

On February 1, 2012, Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill that makes Indiana the nation’s 23rd right-to-work state. The bill’s legislative supporters describe the law as “a victory for job creation and individual freedom for workers to decide for themselves if they want to financially back a union.” The bill’s supporters envision “a surge in economic development interest” in Indiana because Indiana is now the only right-to-work state in the central Midwest.

New Law Guarantees Right to Employee Representation Elections

Effective July 1, 2011, a new Indiana statute guarantees employees the right to vote by secret ballot in any election that is required or permitted by Indiana or federal law for the designation, authorization or retention of employee representation. This same statute (codified at I.C. 22-6-5-1 et seq.) guarantees the right of any employer to engage in a campaign in connection with such an election.

New Indiana “Non-Disclosure” Gun Law Takes Effect July 1

Last year, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that prohibits most employers from adopting a rule or policy prohibiting employees from possessing firearms or ammunition in an employer’s parking lot, so long as they are kept in a locked vehicle and out of sight. This year, the Indiana legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, another bill further restricting employers from regulating the possession of firearms by their employees.

Preliminary Injunction Granted for Parts of New Indiana Immigration Law

As predicted in our prior Legal Alert on this topic on May 13, 2011, Indiana's recently enacted immigration law has been challenged in court. On June 24, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted a preliminary injunction, preventing certain provisions of the new law from going into effect as planned on July 1, 2011.

Indiana Gets Tough On Employers Of Illegal Aliens

On May 10, 2011, Governor Daniels signed a new law imposing significant consequences on Indiana employers who employ unauthorized workers. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2011.

Indiana Further Limits Employers With Respect to Guns and Ammo

On April 18, 2011, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a new law clarifying and bolstering employees' and applicants' right to lawfully possess firearms and ammunition. The law takes effect July 1, 2011.

Governor Daniels Signs Workplace Gun Bill Into Law.

On Thursday, March 18, 2010, Governor Mitch Daniels signed P.L. 90-2010 into law, allowing workers who may otherwise lawfully possess firearms or ammunition to keep firearms and ammunition in their locked vehicles in trunks, glove compartments, or out of plain sight while parked on company property. The law is a response to Indiana employers (and employers around the nation) who prohibit employees from having firearms anywhere on company property through corporate gun policies and workplace violence rules. The “take your gun to work” law, as termed by the media, now makes it illegal for Indiana employers to adopt any policy that prohibits, or has the effect of prohibiting, employees from having firearms in their locked vehicles while the vehicle is on company property. In addition, the law authorizes civil lawsuits by employees and allows for actual damages and attorneys’ fees for employees who prevail in a court action against a non-complying employer.

Indiana Court Rejects Negligence Suit Brought By Murder Victims’ Estate.

A state appellate court recently ruled in favor of an employer whose employee left a job site in the middle of a shift, drove several miles away in his personal vehicle, broke into a home, and murdered two residents. According to the Indiana Court of Appeals, because the harm caused by the employee was not reasonably foreseeable, the employer was not responsible for negligently hiring and retaining him.

Indiana Supreme Court Rules on "Workplace Bullying" Case.

In a 4-1 decision, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld a $325,000 verdict against a cardiovascular surgeon accused of being a “workplace bully.” Previously, the trial and appellate court decisions in the case had received nationwide attention because of the interest in the concept of “workplace bullying.” Raess v. Doescher, No. 49S02-0710-CV-424, Indiana Supreme Court (April 8, 2008).

New Law Requires Indiana Employers To Provide Leave.

The ongoing war in Iraq has spurred several states to approve legislation creating workplace leave entitlements for individuals with family members in the military. Following that trend, mid-sized and larger employers in Indiana now are required to provide job-protected leave to eligible employees with family members on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and the Indiana National Guard.
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