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Indiana Racial Discrimination: What you need to know

The Indiana Civil Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment because of race or color (IN Code Sec. 22-9-1-1 et seq.). The Law applies to public employers and private employers with six or more employees. Unlawful discrimination is defined in the Law as the exclusion of a person from equal opportunities because of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, or ancestry.
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an African-American employee who was denied a promotion could pursue his racial discrimination lawsuit because of evidence that his manager said the employee would not have been happy managing a store in a predominantly white neighborhood (Simple v. Walgreen Co., 511 F.3d 668 (7th Cir. 2007)). In this case, the employer promoted a white employee who had less experience to the position of manager. The evidence also showed that the plaintiff had twice been offered a manager's job at stores in predominantly black neighborhoods. Based on the evidence, the court ruled that the plaintiff could continue his lawsuit.
Harassment. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a multi-million-dollar punitive damages award against an employer that failed to promptly and adequately respond to an employee's complaints of racial harassment (May v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 692 F.3d 734 (7th Cir. 2012)). In this case, the employee reported over 70 incidents of harassment during a 3-year period, including written death threats and racist graffiti at the worksite. Calling the employer's response "shockingly thin," the court noted that none of the alleged harassers were ever interviewed, and the employer never installed a surveillance camera despite the suggestion by local police.
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