In Indiana, someone who takes out a restraining order in an abusive relationship can lose their job as a result. There is no protection for such firings under Indiana law, and that’s something that many people think needs changing.
According to the Indy Star, one such domestic violence victim was poised to bring a civil suit against her employer, alleging her own firing amounted to gender discrimination since victims of domestic violence are most often women. But she dropped the suit when the company offered her another position at a different location.
Her boyfriend had beaten her and threatened to kill her. She took out the protective order and informed her employer who immediately put her paid leave while they decided how to handle the situation. They then fired her, giving her $700 in severance pay.
Employers are understandably scared of violence in the workplace. But in this particular case, the boyfriend had never shown up at the job and had only called once. The victim said their fear was unjustified.
Indiana domestic violence laws protect the victims. The Indy Star calls the state’s laws “progressive” in terms of victim protection. But that progressiveness doesn’t extend to the workplace, and it doesn’t protect victims from losing their jobs as a result. Domestic violence advocates say this has to change.
When someone is involved in a violent or potentially violent situation, they should be protected. But it causes one to wonder how many abusers or alleged-abusers have lost their jobs for being named in a protective order.
The threat of job loss is very real when you are involved in a criminal case or even named on a civil injunction. Employers’ first priority is a safe workplace and because companies in Indiana can release employees “at will,” they may determine that your presence on the job presents a risk or even merely a distraction by other workers.
Not only do you have to worry about losing a job after you are convicted of a crime, you need to be thinking about the effects of a criminal charge or a protection order even before you have your day in court.
Criminal charges and domestic violence cases reach from your personal life into all areas of your life and can certainly affect your employment. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side throughout can help you cope with some of these unexpected ramifications.
If you are named in a restraining order and facing charges for violating it or facing original domestic battery or other charges, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss your case.