If you experience workplace sexual harassment in Indiana you may be eligible to file a claim against the person responsible for the sexual harassment.
The Indiana Civil Rights Law prohibits Indiana workplace sexual harassment (IN Code Sec. 22-9-1-1 et seq.). This law applies to both public employers and private employers which employ six or more workers. The law ensures you can work without being sexually harassed in Indiana by a co-worker.
What Indiana State Laws and Federal Laws Protect Against Sexual Harassment?
Apart from the Indiana Civil Rights Law, sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination, so it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).
What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, demands for sexual favors and any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which if not accepted could affect the victim’s employment status. It could make it difficult for work performance to be maintained due to the hostile work environment caused by the sexual harassment.
Examples of sexual harassment could be any of the following:
- demand for sexual favors,
- repetitive sexual jokes,
- unwanted flirting,
- unwanted advances or propositions;
- verbal abuse with a sexual nature;
- verbal commentary about an individual's body and sexual prowess;
- highlighting a victim’s sexual deficiencies;
How is Sexual Harassment Covered by Law in Indiana?
Sexual harassment as a type of sex discrimination violates the federal law found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Under Indiana law employers are required to establish and post company policies in a public area in the workplace explaining how sexual harassment is monitored and handled.
Employers cannot retaliate against any employee who has alleged sexual harassment in a claim. The Indiana anti-discrimination statute covers some of the smaller employers who won’t be covered by federal law.
So if your workplace has from 6 to14 employees, you should file your complaint with the ICRC, as the EEOC enforces federal law, which covers only employers with 15 or more employees.
Where Can a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim be Filed in Indiana?
In Indiana, a sexual harassment claim can be filed either with the Indiana state administrative agency, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
These agencies have a "work-sharing agreement," which means that each of the agencies cooperate with one other to process claims. Filing a claim with both agencies isn’t required as long as you indicate to one of the agencies that you want it to "cross-file" the claim with the other agency.
In Indianapolis both the State of Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office can be found.
How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in Indiana?
There are strict time limits called the statute of limitations which are given to file a sexual harassment claim. You should file with the ICRC (or cross-file with the EEOC) within 180 days of the date you believe you suffered sexual harassment.
Under federal law in order to preserve your claim you should file with the EEOC (or cross-file with the state agency) within 300 days of the date the sexual harassment occurred. If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment in an Indiana workplace taking the following steps can help to fast track your case:
- recording in writing the specific sexual harassment incidents including both dates and times of the harassment;
- asking witnesses to vouch that the sexual harassment took place;
- keeping any evidence used by the harasser such as texts, letters, voicemails and emails;
- reporting the harassment to the human resources department, or other individual responsible for receiving and processing complaints.
Getting Help Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in Indiana
If you know you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment and you have accumulated sufficient evidence to prove it, you should contact an employment lawyer.
An experienced lawyer can review the facts of your Indiana workplace sexual harassment case, and advise you how to proceed, and if required represent you at any court proceedings.