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PRESS RELEASE
2-6-13

South Loop Club to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Harassment and Retaliation Case

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.