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Indianapolis – The Indiana Civil Rights Commission’s (ICRC) Deputy Director Akia Haynes announced today that the agency has issued a finding that there is probable cause to believe that a former employee of Wallman’s Quality Foods in Delphi, Ind. was subjected to severe verbal sexual harassment by her supervisor.
An investigation stemming from a June 5, 2012 sexual harassment Complaint filed with the ICRC found that the Complainant was subjected to sexually explicit comments throughout the duration of her employment. Witness testimony substantiates that the complaining party was subject to unwelcome comments from her male supervisor.
Documents provided by the Complainant showed that an internal report had been made by the complaining party against the supervisor. However, no action was taken to address the issue.
Representatives for Wallman’s Quality Foods admit that they do not have an anti-harassment policy in place. Instead, they have an “open door policy with its employees” in lieu of a formalized policy addressing workplace harassment.
“Every company should have a formal policy addressing sexual harassment,” added Haynes. “This policy ensures that these matters are handled in a timely, consistent, and appropriate manner.”
In order to prevail, the Complainant must show that (1) she experienced sexually offensive comments or actions in the workplace; (2) the comments or actions were severe or pervasive; (3) Complainant made it known that the comments/actions were unwelcome, and; (4) Respondent failed to take corrective action to address the hostile work environment.
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. For more information, contact Brad Meadows, ICRC Communications Manager, at (317) 232-2651.