State Law: Indiana


The Law

Indiana Code 22-9 makes it illegal for an employer or labor organization to discriminate against someone on the basis of sex.

An "employee" under Indiana Code 22-9 means "any person employed by another for wages or salary. However, the term does not include any individual employed:(1) By his parents, spouse, or child; or(2) In the domestic service of any person."

Under Indiana law, an "employer" means, "the state or any political or civil subdivision thereof and any person employing six (6) or more persons within the state, except that the term "employer" does not include:(1) Any nonprofit corporation or association organized exclusively for fraternal or religious purposes;(2) Any school, educational, or charitable religious institution owned or conducted by or affiliated with a church or religious institution; or(3) Any exclusively social club, corporation, or association that is not organized for profit."

Thus, the Indiana statute against discrimination in the workplace applies to all employers with six or more employees, while Title VII only applies to employers with 15+ employees.

The Indiana Civil Rights Law specifically covers employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, and ancestry.

Filing A Complaint

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission investigates complaints filed with it free of charge. Complaints under state law must be filed within 180 days of the date you became aware you were being discriminated against or the date of the alleged illegal act.

You may file a complaint with the Commission by visiting the office, calling, or mailing/emailing in the complaint form. The mailing address is: Indiana Government Center North; 100 North Senate Ave., Room N103, Indianapolis, IN 46204. You may reach the Commission by calling (317) 232-2600 or 1-800-628-2909. Click here to access Indiana's complaint form.

Once you file a complaint with the Commission, the Commission will send your employer a letter and a copy of your complaint, stating that you believe you were/are being discriminated against. The employer will have an opportunity to respond to this complaint.

An investigator will be assigned to your case to collect information from both parties. The investigator may request that a test be performed during the investigation. According to the Commission's website, "Testing is a controlled method to determine differential treatment in the quality, and content, of information and/or services given in order to discover discriminatory practices. Testers are trained individuals whose function is to observe what occurs and record their experiences relating to the complaint."

You do not have to hire an attorney throughout this process, but you may retain one at your own expense if you desire. If no settlement is reached during the investigative process, the Executive Director of the Commission will review the case and the investigator's findings to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe you have been discriminated against and your rights violated.

If reasonable cause is found, you and your employer will be required to attempt to negotiate a settlement. If settlement negotiations fail, a public hearing will be held, overseen by an Administrative Law Judge. If your case goes to public hearing, you will not have to incur any legal expenses or other costs, as you would have to pay in a court case, unless you hire your own private attorney. A staff attorney at the Commission will present your case.

You may decide to go through the federal or state court process instead of the Commission's investigative process. You must first file with the EEOC or Indiana Commission and request a Notice of Right to Sue letter in order to file in court. The attorney you hire will explain this process to you. Many Indiana attorneys choose to file employment discrimination cases in federal court. However, most cases may be brought in either state or federal court. State law does not permit compensatory (emotional pain/suffering) or punitive damages, both of which are allowed under federal law.

For more information and a more detailed explanation of the complaint process, please visit the Indiana Civil Rights Commission's website.