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The Law Office of Robert J. Hunt, LLC

Get Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Employment Law and Unpaid Wage Questions

At Gibbons Legal Group, we focus on employment law.  To help you understand this complex area of law, we've compiled some of the questions we hear the most in our Indianapolis law firm.  Please feel free to give us a call if you have any more questions that have not been answered on this page.

 

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  • How long does it take to handle Indiana employment law cases?

    Most people who contact my law firm have never sued anyone or been involved in a lawsuit.  As a result, I am often asked questions about the legal process.  Potential clients always ask, "How long does a lawsuit take?"  Typically, it will take at least 18 months for a case to go to trial.  The good news, however, is that less than 2% of cases actually go to trial.  Most cases are resolved long before the trial date.  Many cases are settled either through private mediation or court supervised settlement conferences, which are typically scheduled 6 to 9 months after a lawsuit is filed.  Sometimes, we are even able to resolve cases before lawsuits are filed through the use of settlement demand letters.  When you hire an Indianapolis employment law attorney to sue an employer, you should expect the case to take at least 1 year before it is resolved.  Each lawsuit is different, however, and there are many factors that can speed up or slow down the legal process.    

    The Law Office of Robert J. Hunt, LLC is an Indianapolis employment law firm that handles employment lawsuits in federal and state courts.  Indiana state courts are located in every county in Indiana.  The federal court system has courts located in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, New Albany, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, South Bend and Hammond.

  • I Was Fired From My Job and Asked to Sign A Release -- What Should I Do?

             Being fired from a job is often surprising, shocking, hurtful, embarrassing, or some combination of these emotions.  Most of the time, the only thought going through your mind is leaving the employer’s premises as quickly as possible.  Even if a termination meeting catches you completely off-guard, most times the employer’s decision was preplanned, reviewed by Human Resources and even approved by your employer’s legal counsel.  When your employment is terminated, your employer may instruct you to sign documents relating to your discharge.  YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN ANY DOCUMENTS!!!  I can almost guarantee that in the moments following your termination, your ability to focus, review, and understand paperwork will be somewhere between significantly diminished and nonexistent.  Once your employment has been terminated, what more can your ex-employer possibly do to you if you simply refuse to sign any paperwork until you have had a chance to carefully review it? The answer is absolutely nothing.  I am not suggesting you refuse to accept the paperwork.  To the contrary, I encourage you to gather any papers your employer asks you to sign, inform whoever is present that you are not willing to sign the documents at this time, but that you will be in contact once you have a chance to review them.  Then leave—do not argue, debate or discuss your termination. 

             It is not uncommon for Indiana employers to request signatures on documents that purport to release your legal claims, limit your right to obtain employment with competitors, or provide an admission regarding the conduct for which you were terminated.  Sometimes, employers will instruct you to sign a release under the guise that it is “required” to obtain your earned vacation pay, a reference, or severance.  In most circumstances, be suspicious if an employer wants a signature “on the spot.”  Typically, you are signing away some important legal right.  Even if your employer is offering you a generous severance package, it is the rare case that you will not be entitled some amount of time to review and consider the offer.

             Once you have a signed a release, it is difficult (if not impossible) to successfully pursue a legal claim against your ex-employer.  In these circumstances, before the Court will even consider your wrongful discharge, retaliation, or harassment claim, you will have to overcome the presumption that you have waived your legal claim by signing a release.  To overcome this presumption, you will have to prove you were coerced or tricked into signing the release.  Most times, the Court will find in favor of the employer and enforce the release.

  • Should I Sign a Release of Claims or Other Documents At Termination?

    Being fired from a job is often surprising, shocking, hurtful, embarrassing, or some combination of these emotions.  Most of the time, the only thought going through your mind is leaving the employer’s premises as quickly as possible.  Even if a termination meeting catches you completely off-guard, most times the employer’s decision was preplanned, reviewed by Human Resources and even approved by your employer’s legal counsel.  When your employment is terminated, your employer may instruct you to sign documents relating to your discharge.  YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN ANY DOCUMENTS!!!  I can almost guarantee that in the moments following your termination, your ability to focus, review, and understand paperwork will be somewhere between significantly diminished and nonexistent.  Once your employment has been terminated, what more can your ex-employer possibly do to you if you simply refuse to sign any paperwork until you have had a chance to carefully review it? The answer is absolutely nothing.  I am not suggesting you refuse to accept the paperwork.  To the contrary, I encourage you to gather any papers your employer asks you to sign, inform whoever is present that you are not willing to sign the documents at this time, but that you will be in contact once you have a chance to review them.  Then leave—do not argue, debate or discuss your termination. 

             It is not uncommon for employers to request signatures on documents that purport to release your legal claims, limit your right to obtain employment with competitors, or provide an admission regarding the conduct for which you were terminated.  Sometimes, employers will instruct you to sign a release under the guise that it is “required” to obtain your earned vacation pay, a reference, or severance.  In most circumstances, be suspicious if an employer wants a signature “on the spot.”  Typically, you are signing away some important legal right.  Even if your employer is offering you a generous severance package, it is the rare case that you will not be entitled some amount of time to review and consider the offer.

             Once you have a signed a release, it is difficult (if not impossible) to successfully pursue a legal claim against your ex-employer.  In these circumstances, before the Court will even consider your wrongful discharge, retaliation, or harassment claim, you will have to overcome the presumption that you have waived your legal claim by signing a release.  To overcome this presumption, you will have to prove you were coerced or tricked into signing the release.  Most times, the Court will find in favor of the employer and enforce the release.

  • I quit my job, can I sue for discrimination or harassment?

    I cannot count the number of times that someone has called my law firm, described a workplace situation that likely violated a federal or state employment law, but then told me he quit his job.  As far as I am concerned, this is the “kiss of death” for a good discrimination or retaliation employment law claim. 

    Yes, I know all about the legal doctrine of “constructive discharge,” i.e. where conditions are so unbearable that no reasonable person could continue working under those circumstances.  The doctrine of constructive discharge makes for a good law review article, but try successfully litigating a constructive discharge claim in federal court.  Except for the most extreme circumstances, most constructive discharge claims fail.  As a general rule, if you have quit your job, you likely have cutoff your damages as of the date you quit.

             When you quit your job because of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, your employer wins on every level.  You have not only potentially harmed or destroyed your employment law claim, but you just solved your employer’s biggest problem—how to get rid of you.  In fact, your employer secretly will celebrate the fact that you quit your job.  But, the opposite is also true.  As long as you remain employed, you are the proverbial “fly in the ointment.”  You are privy to what is occurring in the workplace, and you still have access to your email and other relevant evidence.  Plus, in the context of a lawsuit settlement, you can often negotiate your resignation for a more lucrative recovery.

             If your employer is subjecting you to unlawful conduct and you are contemplating taking legal action, chances are that you think about quitting on a daily basis.  If possible, don’t quit!  Instead, contact an experienced employment lawyer to discuss your legal rights.  The Law Office of Robert J. Hunt, LLC is an Indianapolis employment law firm that represents clients throughout the state of Indiana.