Compagna Academy in Schererville charged with discrimination

INDIANAPOLIS – The Deputy Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), Akia Haynes, announced today that there is probable cause to believe that Compagna Academy in Schererville, Indiana violated the Indiana Civil Rights Law (Ind. Code § 22-9, et seq.) when it terminated a female employee in July 2014.

By way of background, Respondent is a residential center responsible for providing therapeutic and other services to youth. At all times relevant to the complaint, Complainant was responsible for monitoring clients. On the day in question, on or about July 15, 2014, Complainant was responsible for observing and documenting the progress of patients every five minutes.

However, Respondent observed her sleeping during her shift and falsifying observation records upon being awakened. As a result, Respondent terminated her employment that day. Where this termination is called into question is that during the same timeframe, a similarly-situated male employee also working for the Respondent was disciplined for sleeping on the job. However, instead of being terminated like Complainant he was issued a verbal warning.

As a result of the Complainant being more severely disciplined for the same violation, and based upon the evidence collected in the investigation, probable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory practice occurred as alleged.

In order to prevail, Complainant must show that 1) she engaged in prohibited conduct similar to that of a male co-worker; but 2) was disciplined more severely than the similarly-situated male employee.

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. A public hearing is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law occurred as alleged.