Federal Agency Says South Loop Club Allowed Harassment of Female Employees
CHICAGO - South Loop Club, a Chicago bar and grill located at 701 S. State St., will pay $100,000 under a consent decree entered today to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC had alleged that South Loop Club fostered a culture where sexual harassment and retaliation against female employees went unchecked. South Loop Club opted to settle the case shortly after it was filed and before answering the complaint.
The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit was brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination (including sexual harassment) as well as retaliation in employment. The case, EEOC v. South Loop Club, Civil Action No. 12 cv -7677, was filed on Sept. 26, 2012, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. EEOC Trial Attorneys Brad Fiorito and June Calhoun, and Supervisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour, litigated the case on behalf of the government.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles P. Kocoras of the Northern District of Illinois entered the decree settling the suit, which provides $100,000 in monetary relief to the victims, and requires South Loop Club to report to the EEOC for the next two years on all employee complaints of sex- or gender-based harassment and retaliation. South Loop Club must also train all its employees on the prevention and eradication of harassment and retaliation and adopt new policies regarding those forms of misconduct. The decree also specifically provides that South Loop Club cannot require recipients of monetary relief to keep the facts underlying the case confidential, waive their rights to file charges with a government agency, or refrain from reapplying for work with the company.
"This case is a reminder that federal law protects women working in bars from sexual harassment as much as women working in high-end business environments," said John Rowe, the EEOC district director in Chicago. "It doesn't matter whether your collar is blue, pink or white -- sexual harassment is illegal, and the EEOC will combat it."
John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago, added, "It's encouraging that South Loop Club realized that a negotiated consent decree was its best option as soon as suit was filed. That meant we could all focus on what was going to happen going forward. Our expectations on that score are very positive because the decree not only provides immediate relief for the victims, but also reduces the potential for future problems by mandating training, reporting, and policy changes in the workplace."
EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.