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Press Release 09-29-2021

Fermi Research Alliance Agrees to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

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

CHICAGO – Fermi Research Alliance, LLC (“Fermi”), the particle physics and accelerator laboratory in Batavia, Ill., will pay $100,000 to resolve a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, EEOC v. Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, Civil Action No. 18-cv-5486, Fermi violated federal law when they failed to promote a female engineer in retaliation for her complaint of sex-based discrimination. 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 discrimination complaint. The EEOC filed suit in the Northern District of Illinois after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Besides the monetary relief, the 18-month consent decree entered by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, requires that Fermi display a posting regarding the resolution of the lawsuit to its employees, provide training on retaliation under Title VII to its employees, and make regular reports to the EEOC regarding its compliance with the decree.

“Employees who believe they have been discriminated against have the right to address their concerns with their employer without fear of retribution,” said Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in the Chicago District Office. “The EEOC remains committed to enforcing the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII.”  

Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman added, “We are pleased with the outcome of this lawsuit as addressing and remedying retaliation is a vital component of the EEOC’s work to combat discrimination in the workplace.”

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.