Male Employee Was Physically Groped and Verbally Harassed by Female Manager, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO - O'Reilly Automotive Stores, Inc., a national company with over 4,000 stores, will pay $35,000 under a consent decree entered here which resolves a sexual harassment case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC had alleged that O'Reilly subjected a male employee working in one of its Chicago stores on the South Side to sexual harassment by his female store manager. According to EEOC, the harassment included groping and sexually offensive comments. The EEOC also charged that O'Reilly did not promptly or adequately respond to his complaints of sexual harassment. O'Reilly opted to negotiate an end to the suit with EEOC shortly after it was filed.
"Early resolution of employment discrimination litigation virtually always makes sense -- for the employer, for the employee, for the EEOC, and, importantly, for the public interest," said John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago. "So we are very positive about the entry of this consent decree. We're optimistic not only because the involved employee is going to be fairly compensated, but also because the remedial injunctive measures put in place are going to improve the working environment for all O'Reilly employees."
EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe, who managed the EEOC's administrative investigation of the charge of discrimination underlying the lawsuit, added, "Sadly, sexual harassment remains a persistent issue in today's workplace. But it is still encouraging to see employers faced with the problem step up quickly to deal with it and to chart a better course for the future, whether it is men or women who were the victims."
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination (including sexual harassment) in employment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its statutory conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. CSK Auto, Inc., n/k/a O'Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a O'Reilly Auto Parts, Civil Action No. 14 cv -06641, was filed on Aug. 28 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois signed the consent decree resolving the lawsuit on September 3, 2014, and notice was provided to counsel today. The decree provides $35,000 in monetary relief to the victim and requires O'Reilly to report to the EEOC for the next two years all employee complaints of sexual harassment in the district where the store is located. The company must also train all its employees in its District 239 in Chicago on the prevention and eradication of sexual harassment, and must train managers on how to properly address complaints of discrimination.
In addition to Hendrickson, EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane I. Smason and Trial Attorney Laura Feldman litigated the case on behalf of the government.
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.