Collection Company Subjected Employee to Harassment Based on His Sexual Orientation, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO - An Illinois collection agency will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Malcolm S. Gerald & Associates, Inc. violated federal law by subjecting an employee to unwelcome and offensive comments made by supervisors and co-workers about his sexual orientation.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination because of sex, including sexual orientation. The EEOC filed its lawsuit on Sept. 19, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago (Civil Action No. 17 CV 6744) after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Edmond Chang, Malcolm S. Gerald & Associates will pay the harassment victim $25,000. In addition, the decree enjoins the company from engaging in sexual harassment or retaliation in the future. Further, the decree requires the company to train its employees with respect to the requirements of Title VII and to report complaints of sexual harassment to the EEOC.
"The EEOC is satisfied that this employer now clearly understands that sexual harassment, by anyone and against anyone, is unlawful and unacceptable in an American workplace," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago.
EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.
Gochanour said, "We appreciate Malcolm S. Gerald's determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve this case. The EEOC will continue to combat sexual harassment in all its forms."