ICRC brings discrimination charge against Kokomo restaurant

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) Deputy Director Joshua Brewster announced today that the agency has issued a finding that there is probable cause to believe that a former employee of Rock Bottom Restaurant in Kokomo was subject to unlawful discrimination because she was pregnant.

An investigation stemming from a December 19, 2011 compliant filed with the ICRC alleging sex discrimination found that the charging party was meeting performance expectations upon her termination. Correspondingly, a Rock Bottom manager admitted that the complainant was placed on maternity leave because they were concerned about liability.

“The issue before the Commission is whether the alleging party was illegally discharged due to her pregnancy,” said Brewster. “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.”

In order to prevail, the complainant must show that (1) she is a member of a protected class, (2) she suffered an adverse employment action, (3) she was meeting respondent’s legitimate business expectations; and (4) there is a casual connection between the adverse action and the complainant’s pregnancy.

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 Specialist, at (317) 232-2651.