An investigation is underway into the Michiana Behavioral Health Center after a number of former employees claimed the center has committed a number of employee discrimination violations and maintains an unsafe work environment through consistent understaffing. Dominique Smith, a former employee at the center between November 2010 and April 2012, said that she was witness to a number of incidents involving sexual misconduct and physical abuse and that she was discriminated against while employed at MBHC. She also claimed that the administration ignored her health issues her supervisors intentionally mistreated her specifically.
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission is conducting the investigation into the discrimination complaints, and employment investigator Brad Shockney said that his complainant is a former employee of the center who filed for discrimination on the grounds of disability. However, she lacked documentation pertaining to her discrimination claims, and the center has refuted her claims, saying that she was terminated for gross misconduct and they had no idea she had a disability. The investigation continues, however, and Shockney explained that the investigation focuses on the discrimination claims, not the claims of understaffing or unsafe conditions.
Shockney said their investigation will move forward after the necessary evidence has been obtained, which he said will then be submitted to his supervisor before going to the deputy director. At that point, he said, the evidence is in administrative review. If enough evidence is found to establish probable cause, Shockney said an attorney will take up the case and try to mediate it; if that fails, the case will ultimately head to a trial setting. However, if they are unable to find substantial evidence, he said the investigation will end and the case will be closed.
Meanwhile, officials from the Department of Child Services visited MBHC on March 20 to review whether or not the facility is meeting the licensing requirements mandated by the state. Stephanie McFarland with the DCS said the investigation was not into the center; rather, they were simply ensuring the facility meets the requirements. The results of that visit will be released once they have been internally reviewed, which she said could take up to two weeks.