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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Civil Rights Commission’s (ICRC) Deputy Director, Akia Haynes, announced today that the agency has determined there is probable cause to believe that a Muncie company, North Central Industries, discriminated against a former disabled employee by denying her request for a reasonable accommodation.
An investigation stemming from the July 7, 2012 Complaint found that the Complaining party requested to travel with a “safe person”, in this case her husband, in order to keep the symptoms of her disability under control. In the past, her employer, North Central Industries, granted this accommodation and allowed her to bring her husband on business related trips. However, she was denied this request during FY 2012.
Further evidence uncovered in the investigation shows that North Central Industries would neither pay for the Charging party’s husband to accompany her to the Winter APA Convention nor would allow her to pay for her husband to attend. However, the investigation revealed that North Central Industries allowed two non-disabled staff members to attend the same conference with their “significant others.”
“In this case, the Charging party had not only been denied an accommodation she had previously been afforded, but was allegedly treated less favorably than non-disabled employees,” said Haynes. “There is also reason to believe that the Charging party was terminated because of her request.”
In order to prevail, the Complaining party has to prove: (1) she had or was regarded as having an impairment that could be perceived as affecting a major life activity; (2) she could perform the essential functions of the job; (3) North Central Industries knew or should have known of the Charging party’s need for a reasonable accommodation; and (4) North Central Industries refused to consider the Charging party’s needs by denying a reasonable accommodation without showing an undue hardship.
Based upon the findings of the investigation, probable cause exists that an unlawful discriminatory practice has taken place in this instance. A public hearing is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law occurred.
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 Indiana Civil Rights Law has been violated in t his particular instance. 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. For more information visit: www.in.gov/icrc or call 1-800-628-2909.