Muncie fireworks company North Central Industries accused of discriminating against disabled worker

ICRC: Woman not given reasonable accommodation

INDIANAPOLIS - A Muncie fireworks company is accused of violating state civil rights laws by discriminating against an employee with a disability.

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission said Tuesday there is probable cause to believe that North Central Industries denied a former employee's request for a reasonable accommodation for a known disability.

The former employee filed a complaint in July 2012, saying that when preparing to travel for work, she had requested to bring along a "safe person," in this case her husband, to help keep the symptoms of her disability under control.

According to the complaint, the company had allowed the employee to bring her husband on business-related trips for this purpose in the past, but her most recent request was denied.

The company declined to pay for the employee's husband to accompany her to the conference, and would not allow her to pay for her husband to attend either, according to the complaint.

The investigation also showed that North Central Industries allowed two non-disabled staff members to attend the same conference with their significant others, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission said.

"In this case, the charging party had not only been denied an accommodation she had previously been afforded, but was allegedly treated less favorably than non-disabled employees," ICRC Deputy Director Akia Haynes said in a news release. "There is also reason to believe that the charging party was terminated because of her request."

The former employee's disability was not revealed by the ICRC.

A public hearing will be held to determine if a violation of the Indiana Civil Rights Law occurred.

A request for comment was left Wednesday with North Central Industries.

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