ICRC issues several employment discrimination charges

INDIANAPOLIS – Multiple employers have been charged with employment discrimination recently in violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law(Ind. Code § 22-9, et seq). The charges, each reported to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), involve employees being harassed or terminated because of their race, national origin or for having a disability.

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

Belterra Casino (Florence, Ind.)
A Guest Room Attendant at Belterra Casino suffered a back injury and was placed on work restrictions prohibiting her from lifting more than 10 pounds. While this restriction prevented the Complainant from working as a Guest Room Attendant, she was able to work in the laundry room. However, she began experiencing severe back pain and requested to be transferred to another job. Upon the request, she was told to meet with Human Resources to find another job within 30 days or be terminated. She was later terminated.

Forge Industrial Staffing (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Forge Industrial Staffing is a staffing agency that employs temporary workers and places them with various clients. The Complainant was hired by Forge Industrial Staffing and placed with Arrow Container. While working at Arrow Container, the Complainant suffered a sprained ankle and injured his back and was placed on light duty assignment. During this light duty assignment the employee, who is African American, was not given access to the kitchen and bathroom areas and was placed in an isolated area. Despite sharing his displeasure with management, alleging discrimination, there was no internal investigation. Furthermore, Respondent terminated Complainant’s light duty assignment three days after he filed his Complaint with the ICRC.

City of Fort Wayne (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
The Complainant was hired as a Relief Person in the Facilities Department with the City of Fort Wayne in 2006. In 2011, he “bid” into his present position of Grounds Equipment Operator pursuant to union rules and procedures. In 2012, evidence shows that Respondent posted a Relief Person-Facilities Position and Complainant was the only person to apply for it. However, about two months later the position had been eliminated due to budgetary cuts. A few months later, Respondent re-opened the position and placed an aggrieved American employee in the position as a result of a settlement stemming from a lawsuit which required Respondent to award the Relief Person-Facilities position to the aggrieved American employee. Despite the settlement, the Complainant asserts, and witness testimony corroborates, that the American employee was less qualified than the Complainant.

United Auto Works Local 5 (South Bend, Ind.)
Complainant, working as a DC Operator, alleges that he left work to go to the hospital because of his disability. Upon his return, Complainant received “attendance points” for leaving. Two days later, Complainant alleges that his supervisor sent him home early because he was unable to work inside of a container that would have triggered his disability. As a result, Complainant attempted to file a grievance with Respondent, alleging his employer should have excused his absences as they were related to his disability rather than giving him attendance points. However, Complainant alleges that Respondent would not accept his grievance, stating that it was not an issue he could give. According to the evidence submitted to the Commission, Complainant was denied representation and he alleges that similarly-situated union employees of another national origin or without impairment were treated more favorably under similar circumstances.

It’s 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. The 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.