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INDIANAPOLIS – The Deputy Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), Akia Haynes, announced today that there is probable cause to believe that Indiana University Health discriminated against one of its former employees.
“The issue before the Commission is whether the disciplinary action taken against a Caucasian employee was done so because of his race,” said Haynes.
According to the former Indiana University Health employee, who filed a Complaint with the ICRC on June 12, 2012, he and his co-worker, who is Filipino, engaged in unprofessional behavior in the workplace, ultimately culminating in a wrestling match.
While Indiana University Health determined that both individuals behaved in an inappropriate manner and violated company policy, it terminated the Caucasian employee, while only suspending his Filipino co-worker for 4 days without pay.
Given the evidence provided by both parties and following the ICRC’s preliminary investigation, there is sufficient evidence to believe that Indiana University Health’s rationale for terminating one employee while only suspending the other is likely pretext for unlawful discrimination on the basis of race.
In order to show he was subjected to disparate discipline on the basis of his race, the aggrieved employee must show that: (1) he engaged in prohibited conduct similar to that of his co-worker of a different race and (2) the discipline levied against him was more severe than those levied against this same co-worker.
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. The Indiana Civil Rights Law provides remedies, including compensatory damages and injunctive relief, such as changes in the employer’s policies and training.