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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 Court of Appeals Rules on Irreparable Harm, Laches, Extension Clauses, and More in Recent Restrictive Covenant Case

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently issued a restrictive covenant ruling addressing several significant issues. On November 30, 2016, in Hannum Wagle & Cline Engineering, Inc. v. American Consulting, Inc., the Indiana Court of Appeals elaborated on a number of important issues in restrictive covenant cases:

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.