Press Release 11-02-2020

City Sports to Pay $420,000 to Settle EEOC Race and National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

Sports Fashion Chain Refused to Hire or Promote African Americans and Hispanics Into Management Positions and Harassed Black Employees, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – City Sports, a chain of sports fashion stores with over 15 locations in Chicago and the surrounding area, will pay $420,000 to settle a race and national origin discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The City Sports locations covered by the suit include stores in Chicago, Harvey, Crest Hill, Bolingbrook and North Riverside.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, City Sports violated federal civil rights laws by refusing to hire and promote African Americans and Hispanics into management positions and instead favoring Koreans to fill management roles. City Sports also subjected two Black sales employees to harassment because of their race, the EEOC charged.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race and national origin. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (EEOC v. Palm USA Inc. d/b/a City Sports, et al., Civil Action No. 17-cv-6692), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, City Sports will pay $420,000 to 19 current and former employees and agrees not to engage in race or national origin discrimination or retaliation. City Sports must hire a consultant to help implement objective hiring and promotion criteria, procedures, and recruiting practices. The consultant will also help implement anti-discrimination policies and procedures for investigating discrimination complaints. City Sports must also provide anti-discrimination training and report to EEOC on management selection and complaints of race or national origin discrimination and harassment.

“During its investigation, the EEOC found that most of the City Sports sales employees were African-American or Hispanic, while most of the store managers were Korean,” said Julianne Bowman, the district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “The company generally hired Korean individuals from outside the company for store manager positions, while never considering Black or Hispanic sales people who had worked for the company for years.”

Gregory Gochanour, the regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, added, “The decree provides significant relief to employees affected by the discrimination. As important, the changes required by the decree with respect to City Sports’ selection procedures for management positions will ensure that African American and Hispanic employees are fairly considered for management openings through a process free of any discrimination.”

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment 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 advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.