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Woman fired by ArcelorMittal can proceed with case

Updated: July 20, 2013 6:35AM



The Indiana Civil Rights Commission has found that there is probable cause that the termination of a former ArcelorMittal USA Burns Harbor employee violated the Indiana Civil Rights Law and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The unidentified former order entry analyst was hired by Adecco, and worked there from August 2011 until Aug. 8, 2012, when she was terminated. A probable cause finding is not a determination of guilt. Within the next 20 days, the parties must decide whether to pursue a hearing in circuit or superior court, mediation or a hearing before an administrative law judge.

The woman suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and needed to adjust her work hours twice a month for appointments at a veterans hospital. She requested the accommodation in person and via email, but her supervisor initially denied any knowledge of the schedule change. The woman’s symptoms worsened between February and July 2012 due to an ongoing conflict with a co-worker, and she discussed the situation and ways to resolve it with her supervisor. On July 31, she left work for her scheduled treatment and informed her doctor that the conflict and other issues left her feeling suicidal. She was immediately hospitalized and remained in care through Aug. 9. Her family kept ArcelorMittal and Adecco informed about her hospitalization. Her doctor refused to let her communicate with others during her hospitalization.

On Aug. 8, Adecco sent the woman an email indicating her assignment had ended because she hadn’t been to work in a week. While Adecco said ArcelorMittal requested they assign someone else to complete her duties, ArcelorMittal said Adecco asked whether they needed someone to perform her duties and they merely responded in the affirmative.

ArcelorMittal contended that she failed to meet expectations for the position, but the state investigation said it submitted no evidence showing it was dissatisfied with her performance.

The woman identified two non-disabled employees of another race who received more favorable treatment under similar circumstances. Both took leaves of absence of more than five days, but were not terminated.



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