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Articles Posted in Indiana Employment Discrimination

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As baby boomers age and the economy struggles to recover, the subject of age discrimination is being discussed more frequently than ever before. Everyone knows if an individual’s employment is subject to wrongful termination based solely on age, it would constitute age discrimination. But there are many other situations in which age discrimination can occur.

When an employer is seeking a new employee, it is unlawful for her to directly ask the age of the prospective employee or to ask questions to help her ascertain the interviewee’s age. While this is fairly common knowledge, what you may not know is that it is also illegal for an employment agency to use age as a basis for referring potential employees to a company. Some companies try to get around the age discrimination issue by having an employment agency do the screening for them. In a case involving Hollywood TV writers over 40, talent agencies were included as defendants because they were not recommending older writers to networks and studios for sitcoms or dramas. In 2010, the case was settled when the defendants agreed to pay $70 million to thousands of writers whose careers were damaged by this discrimination.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 also pertains to unions. Unions may not discriminate against potential members, nor may they use age as a basis for referring individuals for employment. A union may also be liable if it fails to act on an employer’s discrimination against an employee.

An individual can be discriminated against for youth as well. Even though he may be qualified as far as experience and education, a younger applicant may be passed over for a supervisory role because the interviewer incorrectly thinks he will be less authoritative and not respected by older employees. Young female applicants may also be wrongfully denied employment if the prospective employer thinks she will need maternity leave or may decide to quit working after having a child.
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Indiana employment lawyers are pleased with the July 20, 2010 Seventh Circuit Decision reversed the District Court’s decision in favor of a healthcare facility which was honoring the racially motivated preferences of residents.

The case, Chaney v. Plainfield Healthcare Center, reviewed the summary judgment motion granted by the trial court. According to the decision Chaney alleged that she was 1) prohibited from providing assistance to nursing home residents who requested “white-only” care, 2) subjected to comments by coworkers including the use of racial slurs and profanity, and 3) subjected to a suspicious and unexplained termination.

The defendant argued that it needed to adhere to the patients’ requests to not be assisted by African-American CNAs, that catering to these requests amounted to a bona fide occupational qualification. The Seventh Circuit, however, did not agree.

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit against Harrison County Indiana Sheriff ,G. Michael Deatrick, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found probable cause that Sheriff Deatrick sexually harassed, created a hostile work environment and retaliated against two female employees of Harrison County.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act an employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin and age. Also an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee for availing themselves of the protections afforded by Title VII.

The two female employees, Deanna Decker and Melissa Graham, sued Sheriff Deatrick and Harrison County, Indiana in 2008 for a violation of their civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The two female employees are represented by Charles W. Miller of Miller & Falkner.