State brings discrimination charge against Elkhart Rehabilitation Center

Elkhart, Ind.– 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 Elkhart Rehabilitation Center was subject to unlawful discrimination because she was pregnant.

An investigation stemming from an October 26, 2011 compliant filed with the ICRC alleging sex discrimination found that the charging party, who was employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Elkhart Rehabilitation Center, submitted a doctor’s statement indicating that she needed to be placed on light duty.

Upon receiving this request, Elkhart Rehabilitation Center advised the female employee that she would be taken off the schedule because her restrictions were prescribed from a non-work related issue.

“The issue before the Commission is whether the alleging party was illegally discharged due to her pregnancy,” said Brewster. “The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires that if a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job the employer must treat her the same way they treat other temporarily impaired employees.”

Because the employee was taken off the work schedule, and not given light duty, an alternative work assignment, disability leave or unpaid leave, it has been determined that the charging party has been treated less-favorably than male employees who have similar, short-term impairments.

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.