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Chicago bar to pay $100,000 to settle EEOC harassment, retaliation suit


A Chicago bar and grill has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in September against South Loop Club for allegedly fostering a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against female employees, the EEOC said in a Wednesday statement.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, the EEOC alleged that since 2007 a class of female employees had been subjected to a hostile work environment because of their gender by South Loop Club’s owners and managers, according to court documents.

The EEOC alleged that South Loop Club violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with actions that included repeated use of degrading language to women, comments of a sexual nature about female employees’ bodies and sexual touching, according to the suit.

The EEOC also claimed that since 2008 South Loop Club had engaged in retaliation by discharging female employees for opposing discrimination, according to the suit.

“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, district director for the EEOC in Chicago, in the statement. “It doesn’t matter whether your collar is blue, pink or white, sexual harassment is illegal, and the EEOC will combat it.”

South Loop Club agreed to pay $100,000 to claimants and report future employee complaints to the EEOC for two years.

Additionally, the bar and grill agreed to train all of its employees on harassment and retaliation prevention and adopt new policies for such violations, among others, the EEOC said in the statement.

A South Loop Club spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.