Business and Economics

State Says Harrassment Lasted “Years”

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July 11, 2013 — The Indiana Civil Rights Commission says today it has probable cause to believe a woman “was subjected to gender-based harassment over the course of several years” at a LaPorte restaurant.

ICRC Deputy Director Akia Haynes announced today that Colima Restaurant has been charged with sex discrimination after an investigation that started with a May 2012 complaint. The investigation determined that the complainant endured “unwanted and explicit comments throughout the duration of her employment with Respondent.” The ICRC says that the witnessed confirmed that the complainant “was subjected to offensive and inappropriate comments, while male employees were treated more favorably.”

“The issue before the Commission is whether the alleging party was subjected to unlawful harassment based on her sex,” said Haynes. “Through our initial investigation, there is reason to believe this was the case. A public hearing before the Commission is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law, did in fact, occur.”

The Commission notes that its probable cause finding indicates the State’s preliminary investigation suggests that Indiana civil rights laws were violated; it does not resolve the complaint. Indiana civil rights law resolutions could involve compensatory damages and injunctive relief, such as changes in the employer’s policies and training.

The ICRC says, “The Complaining party alleges that she spoke with two owners of the family-owned restaurant about the harassment; however, no corrective action was taken. While the Respondent currently has an employee handbook, no such handbook existed at the time relevant to the Complaint. As such, there were no clear policies or procedures established at the time of the incidents to report harassment.”

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission says that in order for the the Complainant to prevail in the case, she “must show that (1) she experienced 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.”


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