Indiana National Origin Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Indiana National Origin Discrimination: What you need to know

The Indiana Civil Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment because of national origin or ancestry (IN Code Sec. 22-9-1-1 et seq.). The Law applies to public employers and private employers with six or more employees. Under the Law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, or status as a veteran.
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employer violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) if it knew or should have known that its supervisors or employees engaged in discriminatory conduct, such as racial slurs, graffiti, or ethnic jokes, that created an objectively hostile or abusive working environment. An occasional, improper comment or joke generally does not create a hostile or abusive working environment. Instead, such an environment is created only when the conduct is so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of the victim's employment and creates an abusive working environment (Cerros v. Steel Technologies, Inc., 398 F.3d 944 (7th Cir. 2005)). In this case, the employee claimed unlawful harassment based on race and national origin. In its analysis, the court noted that while there is no "magic number" of slurs that indicate a hostile work environment, an "unambiguously racial epithet" falls on the more severe end of the spectrum. If the discriminatory conduct is severe, the harasser need not act multiple times in order to violate the law--even one flagrant act of harassment can create a hostile work environment. The converse is also true: If the discriminatory conduct is less severe, it must occur more frequently to constitute a ...

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