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PRESS RELEASE
5-24-19

Lakeshore Sport and Fitness to Pay $45,000 To Settle EEOC Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Chicago Fitness Club Tolerated Sexual Harassment of Restaurant Employees and Fired Complainant, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO - Lakeshore Sport and Fitness, a fitness club in Chicago, will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a sex harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a Lakeshore employee filed a discrimination charge against the company alleging she had been sexually harassed by another employee while working in the club's restaurant and that her complaints were ignored. The employee claimed that the company fired her for making the complaints. Two other female employees also claimed that they were sexually harassed by the same employee.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. LHC Operating LLC d/b/a Lakeshore Sport and Fitness, No. 1:17-cv-06803) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago on Sept. 20, 2017 after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gilbert on May 9, prohibits future sex harassment and retaliation and provides that Lakeshore will pay $45,000 to three former employees; post a notice of the settlement; and train its managers and supervisors regarding employer obligations and the rights of employees under Title VII.

"Particularly in this era of #metoo, employers must recognize the importance of taking claims of sexual harassment seriously," said Julianne Bowman, district director for the EEOC's Chicago District.

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District, added, "Sex harassment in restaurant environments is sadly not uncommon. Without a clear mechanism for reporting and investigating complaints, the behavior can go on unchecked. We appreciate Lakeshore's willingness to strengthen its policies to prevent this from recurring."

The EEOC's Chicago District is responsible for investigating charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, 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.