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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Civil Rights Commission’s (ICRC) Deputy Director Akia Haynes announced today that the agency has issued a finding that there is probable cause to believe that a former employee of R and R Bar & Grill in Jeffersonville was subject to verbal and physical sexual harassment by the owner.
An investigation stemming from an April 10, 2012 complaint filed with the ICRC alleging sexual harassment found that the complainant was subjected to unwanted touching and sexually explicit comments throughout the duration of her employment. Witness testimony substantiates that the complaining party was uneasy about R and R Bar & Grill’s owner’s inappropriate actions.
“The issue before the Commission is whether the alleging party was subjected to unlawful harassment based on her sex,” said Haynes. “Through our initial investigation there is reason to believe this was the case. A public hearing before the Commission is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law, did in fact, occur. That is unless the parties can come to a conciliation agreement.”
The complaining party alleges that R and R Bar & Grill’s owner engaged in unwanted touching, including touching her breasts and slapping her on her buttocks. Witness testimony asserts that the owner subjected her to very similar harassment by making sexually charged comments and even suggesting she engage in sex with him.
In order to prevail, the complainant must show that (1) she experienced sexually offensive comments or actions in the workplace, (2) the comments or actions were severe or pervasive, (3) complainant made it known that the comments/actions were unwelcome, and (4) respondent failed to take corrective action to address the hostile work environment.
A finding of probable cause does not resolve a civil rights complaint. Rather, it means the State has concluded its preliminary investigation and determined there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable suspicion that the Indiana Civil Rights Law has been violated. Indiana Civil Rights Law provides remedies, including compensatory damages and injunctive relief, such as changes in the employer’s policies and training.
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces the Indiana civil rights laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana. For more information, contact Brad Meadows, ICRC Communications Manager, at (317) 232-2651.