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Press Release 08-13-2018

EEOC Sues Fermilab For Retaliation

Fermilab Denied Promotion to Female Engineer After She Complained About Sex-Based Discrimination, Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory ("Fermilab") violated civil rights law by failing to promote a female engineer in retaliation for her complaint of sex-based discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. Fermilab is a particle physics and accelerator laboratory in Batavia, Ill., that employs over 1,750 people.

The EEOC's pre-suit administrative investigation revealed that only months after a female engineer filed a sex-based discrimination grievance at work, she was denied a promotion for an engineering management position despite being the most qualified candidate.

"Federal employment discrimination laws depend on the willingness of employees to challenge discrimination without fear or punishment," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits unlawful employment practices, including retaliation against an employee for making a sex discrimination complaint. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Civil Action No. 18-cv-5486, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and was assigned to U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.

"Fermilab violated the law when it failed to promote such a highly-qualified female employee because she exercised her rights under Title VII," said Gregory Gochanour, EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago. "The EEOC is committed to enforcing the law to ensure that people are free to raise complaints about discrimination."

The 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 advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.