ICRC issues several probable cause findings

INDIANAPOLIS – Two employers and a husband and wife team of property owners have each been charged recently with discrimination in violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law and the Indiana Fair Housing Act. The charges were each reported to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) and the investigations are now complete. Following these investigations, probable cause exists in each case that an illegal discriminatory practice has occurred.

Provided below is a brief overview of the three charges issued:

Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation (Greenfield, Ind.)
Complainant, who worked as a cook for various employers including the Respondent, applied for and was offered an open cook position with Respondent. However, after learning that the Complainant had carpal tunnel syndrome, the job offer was rescinded by the Respondent. It is important to note that while Complainant’s condition could be aggravated with “systematic with repetitive wrist motion activity,” evidence showed that she could perform the essential functions of the position with or without a reasonable accommodation such as a wrist brace.

Indianapolis Public Transportation (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Complainant, who is African American and served as a coach operator, was terminated by Respondent for using a cell phone or other electronic device while operating a corporate vehicle in violation of Respondent’s policies and procedures. Although there is a dispute using her cell phone while driving, witness testimony supports Complainant’s account of the events. Further, a similarly-situated male employee was terminated and rehired after violating the same policy with Respondent citing that his usage occurred under “extreme and unusual circumstances."

John and Rebecca Powers (Warsaw, Ind.)
Complainant responded to an ad placed by the Respondents for a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1000 sq. ft. house for rent. Amongst other particulars, the ad provided that the house was “…Perfect for couple; no children please. $700 + Security Deposit.” (emphasis added). When Complainant inquired about the home and mentioned that it was himself, his fiancé, and their expectant child, Mr. Powers stated that he “did not rent to people with children.”

It is important to note that 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. These laws provide 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 Deputy Director – External Affairs, at (317) 232-2651.