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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 Kia Muncie, located in Muncie, Indiana, committed illegal discrimination.
“The issue presented to the Commission is whether a former employee was terminated due to a back injury,” said Haynes. “In these types of situations, it is imperative for an employer to o consider reasonable accommodations which may allow the individual to working.”
On August 18, 2012, the charging party (Complainant) injured his back. The investigation revealed that Complainant informed his supervisor and the general manager about the injury and provided medical documentation which explained his work restrictions. Among these restrictions were to avoid heavy lifting, twisting, and turning upon returning to work on September 4, 2012.
While Complainant returned to work on September 4, 2012, he had to leave early because of pain associated with the injury. Complainant provided medical documentation to substantiate that he could not work for several weeks following; however, Kia Muncie considered the Complainant to have quit his employment.
“Evidence shows that Kia Muncie failed to engage in an interactive communication process with the Complainant to determine whether a reasonable accommodation would allow Complainant to continue and maintain his employment,” added Haynes. ”It is important for a company to engage in dialogue with an injured or disabled employee to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws.”
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 law has been violated. The 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.