Rancho Santa Fe Resort Subjected Women to Abuse, Federal Agency Charged
SAN DIEGO – The Bay Club Company, an operator of approximately 24 resort-style athletic facilities and country clubs with golf, tennis, swimming, restaurant and bar amenities in California and Oregon, has agreed to pay $500,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In July 2016, Bay Club assumed operational control of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The EEOC separately settled with Bay Club’s predecessor, Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc., for $125,000 in December 2019.
According to the EEOC’s suit, some of the female employees were subjected to sexual harassment by management and customers, including those in the Food and Beverage department at Fairbanks Ranch and at another location. The suit also alleges that managers within the department also retaliated against employees who complained about the harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting a claim against such discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC, et al., Case No. 3:18-cv-01853-W-AGS), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, Bay Club has agreed to a five-year consent decree settling the suit and includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing further workplace harassment and retaliation. Bay Club has willingly agreed to retain an external equal employment opportunity monitor, review and revise its policies and procedures regarding discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and maintain an effective reporting structure for employees to report discrimination and harassment, which will include a complaint hotline number.
Additionally, Bay Club agreed to provide training to all employees on federal anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on sexual harassment. Finally, Bay Club is required to track discrimination complaints and keep records necessary to demonstrate its compliance with the decree, which will remain under the court’s jurisdiction for the five-year term. Bay Club will implement these procedures at all 24 locations.
“The EEOC commends Bay Club for agreeing to implement comprehensive injunctive remedies and showing a strong commitment toward preventing sexual harassment,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which has jurisdiction over San Diego County. “Protecting young vulnerable workers from being sexually harassed remains a priority for the Commission.”
Pamela Bloomer, director of the EEOC’s San Diego local office, added, “I am encouraged that Bay Club is taking the necessary steps to ensure that all of its 24 locations are free of discrimination and harassment and provide a safe environment for its employees.”
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.