Employment Law

Whether you wear a blue or a white collar, there are many potential legal issues you may encounter in the course of your employment. From compensation and confidentiality agreements to wage laws and FMLA rights, we’ve got you covered. The partners at Cleveland Lehner Cassidy have years of experience representing employees and can help you successfully tackle any employment issue that you may face.

Call us for a free phone consultation to discuss your legal issue

Wage & Hour Laws / Collective Actions

Unpaid Overtime/Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Violations
The law regarding overtime is simple: a non-exempt employee must be paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 8 hours in any workday and over 40 hours in a workweek. Some companies routinely violate wage-and-hour laws, by making non-exempt employees work through lunch breaks, take unpaid rest breaks, or open or close the business on unpaid time. Others classify certain workers as managerial and treat them as “exempt” from wage-and-hour laws, even when these employees are not really managers. Our attorneys have successfully represented individual employees and groups of employees in collective actions. If you think you are owed overtime wages and have not been paid, call us for an evaluation.

Failure to Pay Minimum Wage
Most Indiana employers and employees are covered by the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); however, those not covered under federal law may still be covered by the Indiana Minimum Wage Law.

Tipped Employees
Tipped employees must be paid at least the minimum wage. The employer is required to pay a base hourly wage. If the employee is not compensated at a rate equal to the minimum wage after adding any tips he/she received to the base hourly wage, the employer must pay the employee the difference.

Employers may require that tips/gratuities be pooled and distributed among certain employees, but employers must follow federal regulations. Here’s a tip for you, if your employer is unlawfully withholding your tips or not distributing tips properly, you should contact us to help get you what you’ve earned.

Wage Claims (under Indiana’s wage claim and payment statutes)

You work hard for your money, and you should be paid. Indiana law requires employers to pay you on time and for all wages earned during the course of your employment, whether you’ve resigned, been laid off, or fired. An employer is not permitted under Indiana law to fine an employee and deduct the amount from his/her pay. If your employer violates these laws, you may not only be entitled to your unpaid wages, but up to three times that amount in damages, and your employer might have to pay your attorney fees. If your employer owes you money, put CLC to work for you.

Family and Medical Leave Act Violations (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires many employers to grant unpaid leave to an employee after the birth of a child, the arrival of an adopted child, to care for a sick relative or when the employee is ill. These laws apply to private and public employers with 50 or more employees. Any employer covered under state or federal law must grant unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks annually to eligible employees in these situations.

The FMLA defines eligible employees as those who have worked for an employer for at least 12 months and have provided at least 1,250 hours of service. When leave is granted by the employer, it can be taken all at once or it can be taken in smaller increments of time, known as intermittent leave. Once an employee has taken FMLA leave, employers are allowed to calculate the remaining amount of leave in several different ways. Making those calculations can be confusing for employees, who must rely on what they are told by the employer about their FMLA rights. Employers have a team of people, including lawyers, human resource departments, and, in some cases, other companies specializing in administration of FMLA, to ensure they follow the law. You may find that you need your own team to help navigate this complex process. If your employer has interfered with your FMLA rights or retaliated against you for requesting or taking FMLA leave, call CLC to protect your rights. We’ve got your back. Click here for the 10 most common FMLA violations.

Employment Contract Issues

Although Indiana is generally an “employment at will” state, meaning you can be hired or fired for any reason (as long as it’s not an illegal reason), if you have an employment contract, that’s not the case. You may have specific rights to your employment guaranteed by the terms of your contract, including performance and incentive bonuses, stock options, and severance rights. Your rights may also be limited by a non-compete clause or other restrictive covenants. Whether you need us to draft an employment contract for you, negotiate terms, or review your non-compete, we have the expertise and experience to provide you with sound and practical advice.

We represent doctors, IT professionals, and corporate executives, as well as small business owners. We can help you incorporate or dissolve a small business, negotiate a lucrative employment contract or defend you against an unreasonable non-compete agreement or dispute. We evaluate your circumstances and make sure that you are protected and receive all pension, health care, and other benefits you deserve.

Severance Agreement Negotiations
There are a number of legal and financial issues you must consider when evaluating a severance package, so consult us before you sign one to protect your interests and rights.

Because employers are not required by law to provide severance packages, it’s not uncommon for employers to use a severance package to diffuse potential whistleblower actions, discrimination lawsuits, wage and hour disputes, and other employment claims. We know how to evaluate whether you have a potential claim, so we’ll be able to advise you what is in your best interest.

When you are facing the quick decision to accept or reject a severance package agreement, time is of the essence. We can advise you of your rights in regard to health care, disability coverage, and other related claims that may arise from your loss of employment. If you’ve already signed a severance package agreement, there still may be time to reconsider your options. Contact CLC immediately to review your matter for potential legal issues.

Non-Compete Agreements & Restrictive Covenants
Did you know that Indiana courts generally disfavor non-compete agreements? If a non-compete contract is too broad in geographical reach or involves an unreasonable length of time, it won’t hold up in court. Indiana Courts require non-compete agreements to be reasonable and narrowly tailored to protect an employer’s legitimate business interest – but not unreasonably restricting a former employee’s ability to find new employment. If your employer is preventing you from working, or if you are considering a job change but have concerns regarding your current non-compete agreement, we can help.

Mediation and Arbitration

Some disputes may be resolved through mediation or arbitration. Mediation is a voluntary process where both parties meet to try to resolve the dispute with the assistance of a neutral mediator, but are not forced to resolve the dispute. Arbitration is process where both parties agree to submit the dispute to a neutral arbitrator and to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. Some employers require employees to agree to arbitration as a term of employment. The attorneys at CLC have extensive experience representing clients in mediations and arbitrations.

USERRA for Military Service Members

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is intended to help military service members retain employment and benefits, seek employment free from discrimination and get protection if they are disabled. Individuals who were called up, activated or requested to return to duty may maintain re-employment rights to a civilian position for up to five years. Under the “escalator principle,” USERRA requires that veterans be returned to the job they would have attained had they not been away from work on military service.

Service members who were injured while on duty may have up to two years to recover and rehabilitate under USERRA, while still maintaining job-protected status for a civilian position. Disabled veterans are also entitled to reasonable accommodations to return to work after being injured in the line of duty.

The date you are required to report to work and request re-employment under USERRA depends on the length of time you were away from work on military service. See our Library Resources for a timeline.

You are not required to use any accrued vacation or leave while you are on military service. You have the option, but your employer cannot force you to do so. Your employer must also put you back on the group insurance plan, if you had taken insurance through your work, without requiring a waiting period.

If you need additional training to get back up to speed on changes in your job that occurred while you were serving your country, your employer must make reasonable efforts to provide the needed training.

At CLC, we appreciate your service and want to ensure that your employer does too.

The U.S. Constitution

First Amendment Rights
“Speech by citizens on matters of public concern lies at the heart of the First Amendment.” —as recounted by the Supreme Court in Lane v. Franks (S.C. 2014)

The first thing to know about the First Amendment is that it is a limit only on government infringement on speech. It prohibits the federal government from making laws that infringe on the rights of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. For a full explanation of the First Amendment protections, visit our Library Resources.

More than 20 million Americans work for federal, state or local governments. Police officers, public school teachers and city clerical employees represent only some of this country’s many public employees. Public employees, by definition, work for the government. So, public employees often have protection from retaliation for exercising certain First Amendment rights.

Sometimes government employees are disciplined for speaking out against government corruption, belonging to a particular political party, criticizing agency policy or engaging in private conduct of which the employer disapproves. Public employees can experience a unique set of challenges. Let us put our years of experience in the federal court system and practicing in federal and state administrative agencies to work for you. Call us for an evaluation.

Fourteenth Amendment
One of the most powerful restraints on individual freedom is the power of employers to discharge workers.

The 14th Amendment defines what it means to be a U.S. citizen and protects certain rights of the people. There are two important “clauses” in the 14th Amendment that applies to public employees.

Due Process Clause: The due process clause protects the 1st Amendment rights of citizens and prevents those rights from being taken away by any government without “due process.” The right to due process is often associated with the government taking away someone’s property for public use. However, some government employees have a property interest in their job, meaning they cannot be fired without an opportunity to be heard. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, state actors cannot deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. In particular, public employers must provide their employees with due process protections before depriving the employees of a property interest in their employment or any constitutionally-protected liberty interests. Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972).

Equal Protection Clause: The Equal Protection Clause requires states to treat citizens equally. It has been invoked to invalidate policies such as racial segregation, protect the rights of immigrants, ethnic minorities, and women. If you are a public employee and have suffered an adverse action, you may be entitled to 14th Amendment protection. Call us, and we can evaluate your claims.

Federal EEO Complaints

If you are a federal employee or job applicant, the law protects you from discrimination because of your race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The law also protects you from retaliation if you oppose employment discrimination, file a complaint of discrimination, or participate in the EEO complaint process (even if the complaint is not yours).

If you are a federal employee or job applicant and you believe that a federal agency has discriminated against you, you have a right to file a complaint. You should contact CLC immediately to determine whether you have a claim, as the time limit to file your complaint is limited, and delay could result in your claims being waived forever.

MSPB Complaints

The Merit Systems Protection Board is an independent, quasi-judicial agency in the Executive branch. The mission of the MSPB is to “Protect the Merit System Principles and promote an effective Federal workforce free of Prohibited Personnel Practices.” MSPB’s vision is, “A highly qualified, diverse Federal workforce that is fairly and effectively managed, providing excellent service to the American people.” Some of the prohibited personnel practices investigated and adjudicated by the MSPB include discrimination based on marital status, parental status, or political affiliation.

The MSPB carries out its statutory responsibilities and authorities primarily by adjudicating individual employee appeals. Navigating the MSPB process can be daunting. We can represent you through the informal and formal complaint process, mediation, and hearing. Call us for a free phone evaluation.


False Claims Act “FCA” Retaliation
The False Claims Act has an anti-retaliation provision which protects whistleblowers who report fraud, so they may do so without fear of retaliation or reprisal from their employer.
“Phantom billing” – Billing for tests not performed.
“Double billing” — charging more than once for the same service.
“Up-coding” – Inflating bills by using diagnosis billing codes that indicate the patient experienced medical complications and/or needed more expensive treatments.
Performing inappropriate or unnecessary procedures.
Charging for equipment/supplies that were never ordered.
A drug or equipment supplier completing a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN) instead of the physician.

Qui Tam
People with first-hand knowledge who report fraud or corruption in government contracts or purchasing activities may be entitled to a portion of any money recovered.

Wrongful Termination

You may have heard that Indiana is an “employment-at-will” state. While this statement is true, it does not mean that you may not have a legal claim against your employer for wrongful or unjust termination. In additional to federal and state anti-discrimination statutes, in Indiana there are judge-made laws, known as “common law,” that protect employees from wrongful termination.

For example, in Indiana, an employer made not terminate you in retaliation for filling a workers’ compensation claim or suffering a workers’ compensation qualifying injury – this is known as a Frampton claim. Also, in Indiana, an employer may not terminate you for refusing to commit an unlawful act – this is known as a McClanahan claim. In addition to these claims, Indiana recognizes other public policy exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. If you think you are the victim of wrongful or unjust termination, call CLC Attorneys for a free evaluation at 317-388-5424.