Chicago-based Lakeshore Sport & Fitness will pay $45,000 to three former employees as part of a sexual harassment lawsuit settlement, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced.
In September 2017, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in Chicago federal court on behalf of former Lakeshore restaurant employee Shelita Bridges, who claimed she was fired after she repeatedly complained about receiving unwanted sexual advances from a male supervisor. Two other female Lakeshore employees later alleged they were also subjected to harassment by the same supervisor. Their claims included nonconsensual touching and verbal harassment.
On May 24, the EEOC announced Lakeshore had agreed to pay $45,000 and provide additional relief to the three women as part of a consent decree.
"Particularly in this era of #metoo, employers must recognize the importance of taking claims of sexual harassment seriously," Julianne Bowman, director for the EEOC's Chicago district, said in a media release.
The May 9 agreement, overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, further stipulated that Lakeshore must post a public notice of its settlement and train all employees to better understand the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation in workplaces, according to the EEOC.
"Sex harassment in restaurant environments is sadly not uncommon," Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago district, said in the release. "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."
Lakeshore did not immediately respond to Club Industry's request for comment.